According to the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA), 2016 statistics showed that 13.4% of individuals reported going hungry every day.
“Encouraging people to buy more alcohol means less money for food and education, which will increase dependency on external agencies to provide a safety net for basic needs,” SAAPA said.
“Research shows children exposed to alcohol advertising are more likely to experiment,” SAAPA spokesperson Aadielah Maker said.
SAAPA has been pushing the Department of Trade and Industry to release the draft of the National Liquor Bill. The proposed legislation aims to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 and would also crack down on alcohol advertising.
“It is a concern that cabinet approved the Bill in 2012 for public comment and five years later we have yet to see the draft. As I said, we have written to the minister raising this concern and received an acknowledgement, but have not yet received the draft,” Maker said.
Charles Parry, director of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Unit at the South African Medical Research Council, said: “We know that advertising causes younger people to drink sooner and in greater quantities. It also creates an environment that normalises drinking and it typically only portrays positives sides of drinking and not any negatives.”
Parry said legislation was needed because the liquor industry could not be relied on to regulate its own behaviour.
“I previously thought we could control adverts by means of limiting advertising until later in the evening or limiting sports sponsorship and other forms of marketing. I now believe a complete ban on alcohol marketing except at points of sale is the way to go,” Parry said.
Last week the Cape Argus reported that SAAPA, along with the Public Health Association of South Africa and university schools of public health, condemned a South African Breweries’ partnership with Stop Hunger Now SA.
The collaboration planned to combat hunger with promotional beer packs. With every pack sold, Stop Hunger Now SA would receive a donation. Following a public outcry SAB decided to withdraw the campaign.