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Liquor Amendment Bill could change SA legal drinking age

To increase efforts in better managing the country’s alcohol-related issues, the Democratic Alliance is pushing for government to pass the Liquor Amendment Bill which will change South Africa’s drinking laws significantly.

This particular bill has been stuck in cabinet for a number of years and many, including DA’s Dean Macpherson, feel the bill has the potential to better regulate alcohol in South Africa and reduce the damage caused by excessive consumption.

According to the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), a serious multi-structural plan is needed to pull South Africa out of its alcohol problems. Citing data from 2015, the council showed that up to 282 adults die as a result of alcohol consumption per day in South Africa, between 27 000 and 103 000 people a year.

The country is also ranked as one of the worst in the world for drunk driving. SA’s road traffic fatality rate is more than 33 per 100,000 population, this is almost double the global average. Research also shows that drunk driving accounts for 27.1% of fatal crashes in SA each year.

If instated, the bill will:

-Push the legal drinking age to 21

-Introduce a new 100-metre radius trading limitation around educational and religious institutions

-Ban the advertisement of alcohol on social and small media

-Introduce a new liability clause of booze-sellers

Mbalula says no one should be getting behind the wheel of a car with any alcohol in their system as the Road Traffic Amendment Bill was introduced in parliament in June 2020, which effectively introduced a 0% alcohol limit for all motorists.

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