New drinking law: will it work?

By Drum Digital
24 March 2011

IT'S a typical Saturday night on the streets of South Africa. The pavements of 7th Street in Melville, Joburg, are crowded with young people ready to hit the popular nightclubs. In Sunnyside, Pretoria, loud music pours from a number of party venues. On Florida Road in Durban trendy youths navigate the hotspots looking to party the night away. And everywhere liquor flows freely for those over 18.

But this might soon be a thing of the past. If a new law proposed by social development minister Bathabile Dlamini is passed, young people won't be able to buy or drink alcohol in public before they turn 21.

Dlamini says the main reason for this is that she wants to build safe and healthy communities. She's come in for a lot of criticism, but the fact is that there is a huge problem out there.

Binge drinking is a major problem among high-school learners and undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 20. What's worse, some children start drinking when they are very young and alcohol is often smuggled into under-18 parties.

Read the article in the Drum of 31 March 2011 – and share your views below.

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