SA considers raising drinking age to 21
Durban - Raising the legal alcohol drinking age to 21 is one of the proposals to be considered at a forthcoming summit on eradicating alcohol and drug abuse from society, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Thursday.
Her statement follows an inter-ministerial committee on substance abuse meeting on Wednesday ahead of the second Biennial Substance Abuse Summit from March 15 to 17 in Durban.
She said alcohol and drug abuse was breaking up families, killing people and leaving others imprisoned.
"Our government recognises that alcohol and substance abuse constitute a serious threat to health and development. This undermines our ongoing efforts to build safe and healthy communities," she said.
In South Africa there was a connection between alcohol and substance abuse, gender-based violence, criminal activities such as gangsterism, money laundering, human trafficking, foetal alcohol syndrome, serious road carnage and family disintegration.
Alcohol ranked third in the country's burden of disease and disability after unsafe sex and interpersonal violence.
Alcohol was also a factor in 29% of driver injuries and more than 47% of driver deaths.
Dealing with this problem had been prioritised by the government.
Other proposals delegates to the summit intended discussing included limitations on alcohol advertising, reviewing licence fees, linking licence renewal to compliance with laws, harmonising existing liquor legislation and enhancing measures to deal with public drinking and drunk driving.