Govt to ban booze ads

2010-12-16 00:00

ALCOHOL adverts — with or without the word “eish” could soon be a thing of the past.

The Health Department is planning to ban all alcohol advertising.

Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced at a media conference on alcohol and drug abuse yesterday that booze adverts will soon follow cigarette adverts into history.

Cigarette and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships were banned by law in 1999.

In addition, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced a moratorium on new liquor licences.

“We need drastic legislation to clamp down on alcohol abuse and to regulate the industry more strictly,” she said.

Another step being considered by the government is a complete ban on drinking any alcohol before driving.

“A drunk driver who causes someone’s death cannot escape with a fine,” Dlamini said.

The ministers were speaking after the first meeting of the inter-ministerial committee on substance abuse in Johannesburg yesterday.

The Phuze [drink] Wize campaign, a partnership of the government and the Soul City project designed to promote safe alcohol use, was also launched at the briefing.

Dr Susan Goldstein, a director of the campaign, said the public and the government must fight alcohol abuse together.

The project has proposed 10 guidelines that should be followed by businesses selling alcohol to ensure safe use. These include that alcohol should not be sold to minors, pregnant women and those already under the influence of drink.

Motsoaledi said the campaign must take its message further than it has in the past.

“The message must be more than that people should drink responsibly. It should be that they shouldn’t drink at all.”

Brewer SAB said in a statement that they have formed a partnership with the Social Development Department to promote responsible drinking.

Vincent Maphai, SAB’s director of corporate ser­vices, said the company believes alcohol producers have an obligation to prevent damaging alcohol use and abuse.

“Alcohol producers are ready and willing to form partnerships with groups and organisations trying to reduce alcohol abuse,” he said.

SAB is one of the biggest sponsors of sport in South Africa. It paid R23 million last year for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour and is a major sponsor of the national cricket and football teams. If it is forced to pull out of these sponsorships, it would have a negative influence on sport in the country.

Brandon Foot, head of SuperSport purchasing and legal affairs, said the bid to ban alcohol advertising isn’t new, but it would have serious consequences for sport and spectators.

Adrian Botha, spokesperson for the industry body on responsible drinking, said there is no proof that alcohol advertising leads to abuse.

“A ban on advertising is not the answer. Half the alcohol drunk in the world is not advertised. All that a ban would achieve would be to strengthen the position of already well-known brands,” Botha said.

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