Pretoria - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was yesterday adamant there would be a cap on alcohol advertising in one form or another.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Motsoaledi said the “new threats to the world” were non-communicable diseases, sparked by lifestyle choices like smoking, lack of exercise and alcohol use.

Those who criticised the proposed restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorships had to realise the seriousness of these, said Motsoaledi: “We are not playing a game. We are faced with a titanic battle.

“When we put caps (on alcohol advertising), we don’t punish people. We are doing so because the world is facing disaster,” he added.

The Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill was last month gazetted for public comment. The cabinet approved it following discussions which reportedly raised the temperature between health and social development, who supported it in the interest of health, and sports and recreation and the economy-related portfolios which raised concerns over, among other things, loss of sponsorships.

The restrictions on alcohol advertising, in the making for over two years, also had industry insiders cautioning about negative impacts on the industry and on the economy, which could lose up to R5 billion a year.

However, the government has pointed out alcohol-related deaths and injuries cost the country about R38bn annually.

During yesterday’s parliamentary debate on HIV counselling and testing, Motsoaledi said that to keep South Africans healthy in future, more money would have to be cut from other budgets like education.

“Imagine sitting in Parliament and realising for human beings to continue living you must cut from other budgets… We want you, as leaders, to understand.” - The Pretoria News