‘Alcohol abuse is a serious problem’ says councillor

Editor

LAST week, the Democratic Alliance released its position paper on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill (DLAB) which has been tabled by the Minister of Trade Industry, Rob Davies for public comment.
In its current form, the bill attempts to regulate what many people already know: alcohol abuse is a serious problem in our society and costs our country dearly.
South Africa ranks as a country with one of the highest levels of per capita alcohol consumption in the world, with an average consumption of pure alcohol of 27.1 litres per drinker where abstainers in the population are excluded.

We also know that alcohol abuse related issues cost our economy an estimated 7-10 per cent of GDP, which equates to R165 – R236 billion per year. The law enforcement and the scope of law enforcement to enforce the original Liquor Act is not good enough. This problem needs to be addressed.

In the department’s view, the problem can simply be regulated away, which, in the DA’s opinion, is a big mistake. We are concerned about the lack of focus on enforceable solutions as well as poorly thought-out proposals which put jobs at risk.
There are several problematic provisions in the bill, chief among them being Constitutional concerns, lack of law enforcement and age limits.

We urge the minister to strongly consider the issues raised in the public comment phase and to make the necessary changes to the draft bill before it is tabled before the portfolio committee.
It is of vital importance that the bill is not rushed, all voices are heard and the views of society, NGO’s and political parties are seriously considered in order that we may present a bill that South Africans can take seriously, is enforceable and protects South Africans from the harms associated with liquor.

Dean Macpherson MP

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