South Africa is still proposing a ban on alcohol advertising

South Africa is still proposing a ban on alcohol advertising

Fresh concerns over plans to ban alcohol advertising in South Africa have been voiced as long-proposed measures to tackle the country’s drink-related issues have resurfaced. 

A draft parliamentary bill that includes a proposal to ban alcohol advertising is due to be tabled before the country’s Cabinet. The proposals first emerged in 2011 and a draft bill was previously due to be submitted by the end of last year

South Africa’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) this week claimed that an advertising ban will damage the country’s wider economy and not address alcohol issues.   

“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,” said SACCI’s CEO, Neren Rau. 

He added: “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.”

Rau said alcohol abuse was instead a symptom of “more serious socio-economic and unemployment challenges that face the country”.

Other measures also previously proposed included raising the legal drinking age to 21, a levy on the drinks industry, raising alcohol taxes and reducing availability of alcohol. 

Speaking to just-drinks today (28 August), Adrian Botha, a director at the Association for Responsible Alcohol Use, which represents major alcohol producers, said it was “difficult to call” if the measures will go ahead. “I don’t think it’s something that will come in overnight, perhaps another 12 to 18 months.”

He added: “We are concerned, but we are getting mixed messages (from government).”