South Africa may be in for stricter drinking laws, after Transport minister Fikile Mbalula stated the country’s current laws that are not effective.
Mbalula has called for a review of current laws as a large number of South Africans die each month from drunk driving accidents, as well as other alcohol related crimes.
In 2018 alone, SAPS reported 86 160 cases of motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Western Cape accounted for 12 776 of these.
In 2019, South Africans were named among some of the heaviest drinkers in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to WHO’s data, South Africa’s drinking population consumes 28.9 litres of pure alcohol each year, making the country the 5th most heavy drinking population on the globe.
“As a country, we need to review our laws on the access of alcohol. We need to address this as it continues to kill our people on roads and everywhere,” said the minister during his visit to Tshwane Metropolitan Department offices on Monday, August 24.
During his speech the minister addressed a recent incident where three officials were killed in a head-on collision on the N4, involving a suspected drunk driver.
Mbalula condemned the incident and stated that something must be done to reduce access to alcohol in South Africa.
“There is over-access for alcohol. People are out of control. We must now put our heads together. When government acts, nobody is going to say it is unfair,” the minister said.
Mbalula asserted that the alcohol issues in South Africa are not new and have long plagued the country.
While there are no details on exactly what will change in future with regards to SA’s alcohol laws, stricter regulation with regards to quantity as well as drinking and driving punishment are likely options.