Alcohol abuse costs R9bn a year

2011-09-05 22:17

Johannesburg - Alcohol abuse costs the economy R9bn a year, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe said on Monday.

This amounted to 1% of the country's gross domestic product, she told the start of a Sobriety Week campaign in Pretoria, according to a statement issued by her office.

"According to the World Health Organisation, the annual liquor consumption by South Africans amounts to 7.81 litres of pure alcohol per person. This level of consumption ranks South Africa 52nd on a list of 191 countries."

The effects of alcohol abuse on the economy could be seen in absenteeism, poor productivity, high job turnover, interpersonal conflict, injuries and damage to property.

The campaign called on all South Africans to ensure fellow citizens were protected from the irresponsible consumption of, and trading in, alcohol.

Public awareness and education campaigns would be launched in areas where alcohol abuse was most prevalent.

  • Banned - 2011-09-05 22:22

    So just ban alcohol, dagga is banned and look how few people smoke the evil weed!

      NewsICON - 2011-09-06 01:41

      Do what Botswana did... All government meetings, functions, gatherings, seminaars etc... no alcohol is allowed. This rule made meetings more productive and shorter.. Look at our 'Judge' that was caught drunk after a party, also a certain Metro Chief also cause a rukus after a drunken party... Are these not lessons enought... let the government show good faith and lead by example...

      Komasa - 2011-09-06 05:01

      Of course it is only the government that abuses alcohol, typical DA member response.

      daaivark - 2011-09-06 08:41

      Come on Komasa, you're capable of better than that low sniping.

      happycamper - 2011-09-06 08:41

      @komasa... government should set an example. Isn't it beetroot face that got a stolen liver transplant and then drank herself to death...wasn't our previous president rumored to be an alcoholic?

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 09:19

      If you legalised weed you would notice a major slump in alcohol use without even having to ban it, because most people are already aware of it having a safer and much more enjoyable and friendly buzz, without the dreaded hangover the next day! Weed 1 - Alcohol 0

      MVP Limbeezy - 2011-09-06 09:51

      You have no clue what you're talking about evidently

      Tinkie - 2011-09-06 10:36

      I don't know how many of you know that the 9th of September is international Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder day to create an awareness of the dangers of drinking while pregnant and the effects it has on our kids. My foster son has FASD as do most of the kids in foster care or adoption. I see first hand the effects. South Africa has the highest incedence worldwide and yet one of the lowest where awareness is concerned and the correct support structure in place for these kids. None of these kids have asked for this life they have to go through. It is devistating not only to the kids and their families but also to the community and country as a whole. There is NO safe amount of alcohol consumption when pregnant and if you are sexually active, DON'T DRINK!!! FASD is the ONLY mental disability that is 100% preventable. It is also 100% uncurable!!! These kids are stuck with this for LIFE!!! Many of these kids turn to crime as they have very little impulse control and are also easily misled. Many also become agressive and violent. They battle at school as they have problems with understanding concepts and are often misunderstood or misdiagnosed. There really needs to be more awareness made and also systems in place to help these kids to keep them out of prisons and educate them correctly to become valuable members of society. As I said, they didn't ask for the life they have been dealt with!

      Widow - 2011-09-06 10:49

      @ Tinkie Awareness campaigns in this country are as useless as watching paint dry. All women living in poverty should be sterilized, pregnant and HIV positive - your baby should be aborted. That way we don't have hordes of orphans and children being born with FAs and HIV etc etc

      Neil - 2011-09-06 12:56

      Bells anyone?

      Tinkie - 2011-09-06 13:07

      @ Widow, you would be surprised at how many FASD kids there are in the so called richer families as well. It is something that knows no race or status. My foster son is a white child. He is my child in every aspect except birth. There are so many women I have been able to be in touch with who actually had doctors telling them it is fine to have a drink or two a day. They now have kids with FAS. There are others who didn't realise how serious this is until their baby was born. This is across the spectrum which is why we need an awareness made.

      daaivark - 2011-09-07 13:08

      Well said, Tinkie.... tell the racist b**ch. Her sentiments are shocking.

  • william.botha - 2011-09-05 22:51

    Just ban alcohol use for human consumption, or regulate it, get a prescription from the doctor, after all it is just a recreational drug with bad effects.

      Winger - 2011-09-06 08:33

      LETS GET THE PARTY STARTED!!!!!!!!!!! Don't be hating cause you people dont dop!

      daaivark - 2011-09-06 08:41

      Winger, shouldn't you be in school now?

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 09:24

      Banning is not the answer. Tighter regulation and better enforcement of laws concerning it's use are the best option. Banning a substance has never been successful in reducing it's use, just look at examples throughout history. Usage has skyrocketed whenever a drug has been totally prohibited.

      tiotudg - 2011-09-06 19:06

      Daaivark, Waarskynlik, maar Winger wag vir jou om hom te vergesel.

  • resiststance - 2011-09-05 22:59

    With the clowns we have running this place what choice are people left with other then to try drink it all away?

      thetruth - 2011-09-05 23:19

      resistance JOU DRONK GAT hippie

      resiststance - 2011-09-06 08:25

      If by whites you mean "people who have a clue" then yes I do, as thats all I really want. Unlike you I am not obsessed with colour I hate idiots of all races just the same.

      OHNOCOMRADESITSBOFFINBOB - 2011-09-06 08:30

      Nox...SA not doing too well under Black it ! The " African dream " has turned into an " African nightmare. " LOL...And this is what you " fought " for ! Shame.

      happycamper - 2011-09-06 09:16

      Nox...where is home for the white people?

  • Peter - 2011-09-05 23:41

    And political abuse is costing South Africa its future.

      Schalk - 2011-09-06 09:14

      Yep, bad ANC governance costs the country around R800bn per year in terms of crime, corruption, human capital flight, Aids mismanagement and failed education. But I do not subtract from the article. Alcohol abuse is very damaging to society.

  • Lestor - 2011-09-05 23:46

    Although I don't drink I don't think banning alcohol is the answer. It is not the answer with weed or prostitution or even cigs. The only solution is education and economic upliftment.

      Jabulaniboy - 2011-09-06 04:03

      Lester, is this why they don't drink in the USA and Europe??? Did you say education?? It seems to me the most educated abuse alcohol the most.

      B Rabbit - 2011-09-06 06:18

      @Jabu - I'm sorry man, but I've not often if ever seen one of these "most educated" drunks you speak of beating their wife on the head with half a brick like I've seen the "least educated" ones do on many occasions. See, nice passive racism there too.

      The Gecko - 2011-09-06 07:24

      @Jabu - not everyone in the USA and Europe is educated, and not everyone who is educated is sensible. Ever heard the tern "trailer trash"?

      daaivark - 2011-09-06 08:43

      Jabulani makes an very good point. Pity that people like Brer Rabbit here are unable to see past their bias to see this.

      happycamper - 2011-09-06 09:03

      daaivark...are you even living in South Africa??

      Widow - 2011-09-06 11:01

      @Jabu & daaivark You do make a valid point, usually the educated and successful tend to abuse alcohol, because they can afford to. Lets also not forget the drugs that are offered like peanuts at these parties. But let me remind you of the people living in poverty that drink umqombothi. The making of it is not regulated in any way and people die from it. Bear that in mind before you attack one side of the scale.

      Lestor - 2011-09-06 11:43

      There is a difference between rich and educated.

      daaivark - 2011-09-07 13:09

      Of course happy camper, how could you possibly think otherwise?

  • agagiano - 2011-09-05 23:55

    Banning alcohol will cost thousands of people their jobs and millions Rands maybe more sport sponsorships. People should really think about the bigger picture.

      Sleepazoid - 2011-09-06 01:38

      Alcohol causes far more harm to society than tobacco. I experienced first hand the tactics used by the pro-smoking lobby to further their cause. One South African tobacco group threatened in a letter I saw some years ago to remove their account from Standard Bank if Standard Bank banned smoking in their building. That was play stuff compared to the lengths they went to and still go to. The pro alcohol lobby group will, if threatened, use underhanded tactics as well. Who knows the evil schemes a bunch of drunks can come up with.

      Jabulaniboy - 2011-09-06 04:05

      Sleepazoid you speak wise words that they don't want to hear. Speak your truth louder brother !!!!!!!!

      Odin Rapscallion - 2011-09-06 06:25

      In the short term, in the longer term we will be much better off... For starters that R9bn will then divert to more productive areas of the economy.. So yes, the bigger picture looks good.

      resiststance - 2011-09-06 08:27

      The 9bn (and probably a bunch more) will be diverted to unsuccessfully fighting the black market that will inevitably appear. If people want something they WILL get it, you cannot legislate such things away.

      IPL - 2011-09-06 09:57

      They banned cigerette sponsorship for cricket and cricket is doing perfectly fine and has moved on to greater things. Maybe this is the route to go.

      MVP Limbeezy - 2011-09-06 10:10

      and banning alcohol will leave all the unemployed stressed people on the street, causing crime and contributing to the problem.

  • Jabulaniboy - 2011-09-06 04:00

    Amazing !!!!!!!The awakening has come........and all this time you were all bitching about smoking. Now you are on to a real problem issue.

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 09:01

      I'm actually really surprised an article solely about alcohol abuse has been published! It causes by far the most damage to society, more than ALL other drugs (legal and illegal) combined. Cannabis must be legalised if this nonsense is to continue. I choose to take a far safer (even beneficial) alternative and should not be victimized because of it.

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 13:06

      Whatev Widow. You've clearly been successfully brainwashed by the years of government funded anti-drug propaganda and rhetoric you've been spoon-fed. The masses know the truth now, it's out, plenty of research online to support cannabis re-legalisation. The vast majority of people who smoke cannabis do so without causing harm to anyone else yet they get tarred and feathered like common criminals purely because the government decided that weed should be illegal even though it isn't addictive and causes minimal harm compared to alcohol and tobacco. The daggacouple will hopefully change all that with their impending court case hopefully to be debated at the Constitutional Court. Catch a wake-up china! Life is too short to be a sheep. Be a shepherd instead.

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 13:31

      Forgot to add that you must be a bit confused too. The only people that I know of who commit crimes to feed their habit are people addicted to alcohol, heroin, Tik and crack. You won't find people who choose to solely use dagga needing to resort to crime to get their fix. And the only reason someone who uses dagga might associate with criminals is because it is illegal so naturally they have to go to people of dubious character to source it. That is one of the biggest gripes that people who use dagga have. They are forced to buy dagga from criminals, because they are not allowed to grow their own or permitted to buy it from a government-sanctioned, licensed trader.

      Widow - 2011-09-06 15:24

      @Alex No my sweetiePie... you need to catch a wake up. The reason people smoking dagga don't commit crimes is because they are too stupid or 'goofed'. Do you know that a large percentage of hard core drug users started their addiction with dagga??? Thats where it starts and unfortunately it doesn't end there. Also do you know that a joint contains more nicotine than a cigarette?? So please don't tell me dagga is not addictive. Why don't you quite before you are rendered completely stupid!!!!

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 17:08

      Oh here we go... how did I just know you were going to bring up the age-old (and by now many times discredited) 'Gateway theory'. People who take drugs usually drank tea, coffee and fruit juice before that so by your logic those should all be banned too! Come on please. All you have done thus far is regurgitate the official line of politicians, and we all know how trustworthy they are. Have you ever done any of your own research into these issues? Name calling and patronising detract from the quality of your posts by the way. If you have a contribution to make please do so in a dignified, adult way worthy of respect. :)

      daaivark - 2011-09-07 13:12

      Widow, with the greatest respect, you speak from such a biased and uninformed position that one almost wants to snigger. Alex here has probably made more sense here than anyone. You really need to look around you a bit, rather than abdicate your thoughts in favour of a bunch of uninformed propaganda.

  • Komasa - 2011-09-06 05:06

    When there was a call for no alcohol sales on sunday's, specifically shebeens and taverns, the first people to jump were SABMiller because 40% of their turnover is done on sunday's.

  • B Rabbit - 2011-09-06 06:06

    Hypothetical rubbish. I'm sick of business (government too) always putting everything that doesn't suit their needs of constantly squeezing every penny out of the man into a monetary value. Funny how no one ever calculates the monetary value of overtime that companies force on everyone and use that to offset these other so called costs. Believe me it would balance out. One more thing, there is a weighty theory that mankind started farming not make more food to eat, but to produce alcoholic beverages (i.e. beer). Go on, Google it.

  • OldBag - 2011-09-06 06:27

    As long as the heads of the country throw parties for any and every reason, and judges, police chiefs, etc have their court cases drag on you'll never get people to think that the government is serious about curbing alcoholism.

  • minimac - 2011-09-06 06:41

    the government spent so much time and effort tackling the evils of smoking, yet when last did someone have a car accident or beat up their wife/kids because they had a few too many cigarettes? about time they looked at the real problems.

  • DEVILS SON - 2011-09-06 06:48

    VIVA PUZA THEZDEY VIVA..pls ban it, prohibition will pack my pockets

  • Deon - 2011-09-06 06:50

    7 1/2 liters of pure alcohol is enough to kill at least 15 people outright - pure alcohol is poisonous. My advice to these namby-pambies is simple :P Go hug a tree and weep in groups of like-minded twits. Reverse Apartheid is primarily responsible for absenteeism, poor productivity, high job turnover, interpersonal conflict, injuries and damage to property. Public awareness and education campaigns ? Are we glassy-eyed bleeding-hearts wishing the lolly would come our way to start and run these less than useless programs perhaps ?

      King - 2011-09-06 08:06

      This oke had a serious dop before typing this.

  • Rob_666 - 2011-09-06 06:51

    Ridiculous article, why has the Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe not mentioned how alcohol sales drives the economy, taxes, employment, etc. Really...

      Rob_666 - 2011-09-06 06:53

      ... The R 9 billion is just the cost of doing business, and a small cost at that.

  • Hantie Jansen van Vuuren - 2011-09-06 06:54

    Banning alcohol won't work. Rather take the R9bn annual loss and add that to liquor sales as an additional tax. That will cause more people to stop drinking and, if that fails, pay for the damages it causes.

  • Fredster69 - 2011-09-06 07:28

    Just ban it all together, use the money that you would spend on damages (9bn) and create jobs, businesses etc. The extra benefit is that you will still have people's lives added as a bonus. I cannot understand the fact that we know what the problem is, but not do anything about it.

      resiststance - 2011-09-06 08:30

      Yeah lets just ban everything anyone doesn't like! Brilliant idea! (You must find yourself unable to understand things fairly often)

      Will2.0 - 2011-09-06 09:18

      Wow Fredster, it's that easy, hey? Let's ban stupidity while we're at it.

  • The Gecko - 2011-09-06 07:28

    For those who scream "bad alcohol" - go and read up about what happened when the banned alcohol in the USA in the 1920s, then you'll see why its a bad idea...

  • Hugh - 2011-09-06 07:38

    Amazing the much vilified cigarette never cdost the ecconomy that much per year.

      DEVILS SON - 2011-09-06 07:57


  • preshen govender - 2011-09-06 07:49

    I gave up drink and smoking it was the worst 15 minitutes of my life

      happycamper - 2011-09-07 11:36

      what are you doing outside of the woman section ;-) Isn't that where you reside most of the time....?

  • Fruit - 2011-09-06 07:53

    Perhaps they should tells us the tax revenues they make from alcohol and ciggs each year?

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 09:38

      NORML, the leading Pro-Cannabis movement in the USA, estimates that a legally regulated market for marijuana could yield the state of California at least $1.2 billion (R8.5 billion) in tax revenues and reduced enforcement costs. Why aren't we giving this any serious consideration yet? The benefits to the South African economy and society would be enormous.

  • Gail - 2011-09-06 08:00

    Why don't start with banning advertising alcoholic beverages!! I've never seen so much advertising as we have in the past couple of years. Not to say that there was never advertising in the past, but not as much as we do today. I agree with sleepazoid, alcohol causes so much damage and pain, not only for the alcoholic but for the family.

  • King - 2011-09-06 08:14

    Unfortunately the people that are the poorest in our communities are probably the worst alcohol abusers. How many times have you ever stopped at a robot and been approached by a clearly very poor beggar, asking for a R2? You know very well that this person is only likely to buy cheap liquor with whatever you give them. You can tell by the fact that they already reek of the stuff. It's heartbreaking to know that they have no other prospect in life other than to collect the next R10 to buy their next 1Litre Namaqua wyn. But we can't really blame the alcohol here. Most have turned to alcohol because the social and economical conditions in this country are so bad. If you don't have any hope of getting a job then what on earth are you gonna sit around and do? So let us not kid ourselves here by treating the symptom while ignoring the root-cause. We need to improve the social conditions first before going on some silly campaign to have alcohol banned.

  • VELOCITY - 2011-09-06 08:36

    Remember Prohibition in the USA? It sparked a protracted and violent crime wave in the USA lasting many years until Prohibition was revoked, so now you lot want the same here? The minute you ban something it goes underground and becomes a crime industry. Besides, the ANC Government needs the "Sin Taxes" to feed off, they will never ban it.

      Alex Dowding - 2011-09-06 09:13

      Give that man a Bells! They are far too fond of their Johnnie Walker Blue Label George V, which costs in excess of R4000 a bottle! Just imagine how many poor people could be fed for a day with that money.

  • David - 2011-09-06 08:43

    Only 52nd. Damn, we like been 1st. Lets drink up guys.

      Hlabirwa - 2011-09-06 09:01

      For sure, We cant be failures like this. Lets climb up the ladder.

  • nats - 2011-09-06 08:46

    Sorry, but i wish we had the old government in place. the present governemnt is running out of ideas to save this country now they come up with this? please man, someone with brains needs to run this country, not zuma...and his stupid leaders

  • Vaunski - 2011-09-06 08:57

    "This level of consumption ranks South Africa 52nd on a list of 191 countries." - i'd drink to that

  • Julsie3 - 2011-09-06 09:12

    Solution to those who realy care...Clinics should supply Anti-booze and support system. There are people who realy need help and cannot stop on their own. Workers with problems should be helped by the State! All the state does is talk and print posters....that's not helping.

  • Badballie - 2011-09-06 09:43

    It amazes me that the obvious in this article is completely ignored. The fuss over alcohol isn't being made because its bad for you or because of the social ills it causes, rather alcohol is an issue because of the effect it has on the profit margins of the elite and shareholder, this is not a statement by a welfare or health official this is from the Deputy Trade and Industry Minister. Just more nails in the coffin of freedom and the next step in the curtailing of civil rights and liberties. And for the record I am a non drinker who doesn't have much time for drunk idiots or their boosted ego's

  • MVP Limbeezy - 2011-09-06 09:54

    With so many kids not attending school, high unemployment, high abuse and crime and farmers still paying labourers in the WCape with wyn wot the hell do you expect? fix the root-causes, the rest will fall into place.

  • Da.Liva.Delvira - 2011-09-06 11:00

    Yes I think better enforcement laws can solve most of It... I mean if one has to see how many people are drunk in public and vandalize public property and throw beer bottles on the road and drive whilst under the influence is very concerning... The police don't even hassle a drunk anymore, back in the days, if one was drunk in public, he/she would be locked up in a cell for a weekend!!! No strict laws!!!

  • Peter - 2011-09-06 11:38

    It's not just alcohol. Sin is expensive. Whenever people disobey God's principles, there is a price to pay. This is not about religion, but about getting over selfish humanism ("I will do it my way")and discovering that there is a true God who designed us to function effectively - but we must do it according to His principles.

      DEVILS SON - 2011-09-06 11:43

      if so why would jesus turn water to wine

  • Enigma - 2011-09-06 12:17

    Eish this lovely Cape town weather is making me thirsty, I need a cold one.

  • greyworld - 2011-09-06 17:04

    Great idea honey. lets drink a dop on it.

  • end of earth - 2011-09-06 18:44

    who needs paraletic, mentally fogged ,violent, abusive & non compas mentis people who get drunk without considering others. the producers of alcohol are selfish & only think of money and bigger fools finance their needs.

  • Charmaine - 2011-09-07 13:01


      daaivark - 2011-09-07 13:15

      Oooh Charmaintjie, judging from the caps and the grammar you are already over your limit.

  • Charmaine - 2011-09-07 13:04

    i dont think they must ban alcohol people mus know they limit an dot overdo it.

  • TheSuperC - 2011-09-07 14:06

    Choose: Sobriety Week or Rugby World Cup? Most South Africans can’t support both.

  • Alpha - 2011-09-07 15:03

    Cheers!!!!! ;-)

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