The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has suggested several strategies the government could use to introduce a ‘new normal’ for our drinking culture. Amongst their recommendations, adjustments to age limits and the pricing of liquor could serve as long-term policies, coming into play once the alcohol ban is lifted.
A change to South African drinking culture?
In their presentation to the Health Portfolio Committee, leading professors and researches suggested 15 ways in which the government could clamp-down on alcohol abuse in South Africa.
Their figures estimate that booze-related incidents can cost the state up to R200bn a year, and stress that a “clear, multi-sectoral national plan” must be developed with a framework for “competent and empowered leadership”. We’ll leave you to make your own remarks on that particular requirement…
How liquor sales could change after the alcohol ban
There are five key areas that the SAMRC believe the government needs to explore: Limiting availability, tightening drink-driving laws, increasing prices, altering the standards of advertising and packaging, and finding suitable treatments and interventions. Here’s what the experts are suggesting:
- Reduce the number of hours for when people can buy booze.
- Introduce a more rigorous liquor licensing process.
- Raise the drinking age to 19.
- Implement a two-hour delay on all alcohol deliveries
Tightening drink-driving laws after the alcohol ban
- Drop legal drink-drive limit to 0.02g AA/100ml blood, which is essentially a ‘zero tolerance’ stance.
- Test blood alcohol of all drivers after serious motor vehicle accidents.
- Clamp-down on public drinking offences.
- Raise the price of all alcohol by 50%
- Implement a minimum unit price (between R8 – R10 a unit)
- Rationalise alcohol tax to match the overall content of each product.
Altering the standards of advertising and packaging
- Don’t promote ‘positive lifestyles’ as a result of buying alcohol
- Make product labels clearer, advising the standard amount to drink and how many calories are contained.
- Track alcohol products to source of supply and ban oversized containers (one-litre beers, steins etc).
Finding suitable treatments and interventions in line with the alcohol ban
- Make more counselling services available.
- Ensure that those struggling with dependence receive greater medical-assisted treatment.