27/07/2012. Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi addresses delegates at the School Health Conference held at Unisa. Picture: Masi Losi

Cape Town -A beer maker's plans to boost the sale of its product in Africa has left a sour taste in Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's mouth.

Briefing the media shortly after delivering his budget vote in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Motsoaledi said he was shocked at news that breweries were targeting the African market for expansion by 50 percent in the next decade.

“It's chilling, you get very scared,” he told Sapa.

Heineken recently announced it would be targeting women with a lower alcohol content beer to increase their appetite for its lagers.

Motsoaledi said this posed a huge risk on the continent. In Africa alcohol use had been associated with road accidents, rapes, murders and diseases, which burdened the fiscus.

“It's a big risk. Imagine we want to say we want to reduce alcohol intake and here they are telling us Africa has been targeted as a new market and that they are targeting women... and there's a special beer for them by Heineken,” he said.

Motsoaledi said he would fight the move because it was an “attack on women”.

“When government is talking about this reduction in (alcohol) adverts, they say you are attacking the breweries, but they are attacking humanity,” he charged.

Motsoaledi said the alcohol industry was contributing R19 billion to the South African economy, but dealing with the fallout of alcohol abuse was costing taxpayers R39bn. - Sapa