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'It's patronising, we have a constitutional right to bodily integrity'

9 February 2021 7:03 AM
Tags:
Alcohol
Free Market Foundation
Legal drinking age

The Free Market Foundation's Leon Louw says plans to regulate choices regarding alcohol threaten the rights of consumers

On Monday, lobby group Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance spoke to CapeTalk's Africa Melane about some of the permanent restrictions being considered by policymakers that could be imposed on the alcohol industry.

Looking at data derived from the ban on alcohol sales introduced to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, three key ideas are being looked at:

1. A total ban on alcohol advertising 2. Raising the legal drinking age to 21 3. Improved tracking of unlicensed alcohol sales

But public benefit organisation Free Market Foundation says the measures threaten the rights of South African consumers and that instead, government should provide information and education to enable consumers to make informed decisions.

The FMF's Leon Louw joined Africa Melane on Tuesday's Early Breakfast show.

It's regulating ordinary people and how they live their lives.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

Louw believes individuals must have the right to decide how they choose to consume alcohol without interference from government.

It's what I call privatizing your mouth! Let you control what you put in your mouth and not some politician or bureaucrat or puritanical activist.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

It's patronising, our constitutional right is bodily integrity.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

Louw suggests that the measures being considered signal a return to apartheid-style restrictions:

The reason why they talk about unlicensed outlets is because of apartheid. Apartheid did not allow black people in so-called dormitory towns to have businesses.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

The question is why aren't there enough outlets, why are there unlicensed outlets? It's time for government to get rid of this apartheid legacy.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

Louw says measures like minimum unit pricing - which has been widely hailed by public health bodies as an innovative approach to reducing alcohol-related harm - are elitist.

It's anti-poor, which in South Africa, just like the prohibition of sheebens and taverns, it turns out to be racist.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

Louw goes on to suggest that the statistics around harm caused as a result of alcohol are 'confusing'.

The majority of road accidents are caused by people who are sober.

Leon Louw, Executive director - Free Market Foundation

RELATED: Drinking age to be raised to 21?

RELATED: Could introducing a minimum unit price for booze curb binge drinking?

Listen to the full conversation with the Free Market Foundation's Leon Louw by clicking below:




9 February 2021 7:03 AM
Tags:
Alcohol
Free Market Foundation
Legal drinking age

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