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Sacci: Alcohol ad ban will hurt

Published Aug 26, 2013

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Johannesburg - Restricting marketing on liquor will have a negative affect on the industry and the economy, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Monday.

“Restrictions on marketing will not only have negative consequences for an important South African industry, but will also have a ripple effect on businesses in other areas such as the advertising, retail and hospitality industries,” Sacci chief executive Neren Rau said in a statement.

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“The motivation given for the proposed ban is understood, but Sacci believes that it will not address the ills attributed to the misuse of alcohol.”

On Friday, the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) to combat alcohol and substance abuse agreed to submit the draft Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill during the next Cabinet cycle.

“The IMC, chaired by Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, and comprising 11 other ministries, agreed that the bill, in its current form, was ready for consideration by Cabinet with the view to gazette it for public comment,” the committee said.

The IMC cited numerous inputs from government departments and civil society as motivation for approving the bill.

“Research has shown that the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse among adults in South Africa (is) expanding rapidly to the destruction of the families, community and society. Government cannot afford to ignore or be quiet about it.”

The IMC said moves by the industry to curb harm caused by drinking alcohol, such as promoting responsible drinking, were not yielding results.

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Rau said the committee admitted that banning alcohol would not produce the required results.

“In fact, the Inter-Ministerial Committee is on record as admitting that global research has shown that a ban does not achieve the required results.

“Alcohol abuse is a symptom of more serious socio-economic and unemployment challenges that face the country. Alleviation of alcohol abuse will be achieved if these challenges are addressed,” Rau said.

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Various departments presented reports on the effect of alcohol on society.

“The department of health presented that tangible costs of alcohol in South Africa have been estimated to be close to R38

billion, while intangible costs could reach R240bn.”

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Alcohol was also the third leading risk factor for death and disability in South Africa.

According to the transport department, more than half of the country's road deaths occurred as a result of alcohol abuse.

“Around 70 percent of domestic violence has been associated with alcohol; arrestees indicated that they were under the influence of alcohol for 25 percent of weapons-related offences, 22 percent of rapes, 17 percent of murders, 14 of assault cases, and 10 percent of robberies.”

Rau said elements of the bill indicated a high degree of intervention in business.

“An increasingly restrictive business environment will contribute to reticence against doing business in South Africa,” Rau said. - Sapa

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