South Africa plans to raise drinking age to 21By Melita Kiely
The South African government has proposed raising the legal drinking from 18 to 21 and holding drinks firms accountable for unlicensed trade in an effort to tackle alcohol abuse.
The proposal was announced by the Department of Trade and Industry in the official Government Gazette.
If the planned legislation is given the green light, then alcoholic beverage producers will face sanctions if their products are discovered in illegal establishments.
“There are very real, rife and negative consequences attached to liquor abuse,” the government document said, as reported by Moneyweb.
“Without proper and urgent intervention, these problems, which are already reaching endemic proportions, will be uncontrollable.”
According to the document, a third of all hospital admissions in South Africa are alcohol-related and birth defects are 141 times higher than in the US.
Furthermore, the World Health Organisation estimates the cost of harmful drinking in South Africa may be more than 10% of gross domestic product.
The new rules, if brought into practice, would restrict retailers on when and where they can sell alcohol, plus crack down on serving alcohol to those already intoxicated.
The South African government is now seeking comments on the proposals, which will be included in an amendment of the Liquor Act of 2003 and parties have 30 days to submit comments.
Last month, health experts called for the Scottish government to raise the country’s legal drinking age from 18 to 21-years-old.