Should the legal drinking age be raised?

2016-10-12 06:00
PHOTO: sourced It is reckoned that South African consume five billion litres of alcohol a year.

PHOTO: sourced It is reckoned that South African consume five billion litres of alcohol a year.

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SOUTH Africans are being asked by the government to comment on the proposal to amend the National Liquor Act to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies announced that the public had 45 days from 3 October to comment on the draft legislation, which has been drawn up to combat the many social ills associated with alcohol.

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of foetal alchol syndrome (FAS). There are approximately one million people in the country with FAS, while another five million have some damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Over 40% of all injuries, and 46% of all non-natural deaths concern people who had alcohol levels above the legal limit for driving. Studies have shown that 60% of South Africans consumed alcohol, compared to the world average of 52%. It is reckoned that South Africans consume five billion litres of alcohol a year.

The draft legislation also proposes a clampdown on various aspects relating to liquor sales, wholesale and retail, shebeens and advertising, etc.

New norms and standards will also be introduced so provinces, who are responsible for registering liquor outlets and shebeens, can adhere to it. Some of the norms and standards include that no new licences will be given to outlets located closer than 500 metres from schools, recreational centres and places of worship.

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