New alcohol rules bring social cheer

New alcohol rules bring social cheer

The newly gazetted National Liquor Norms and Standards will promote safer social spaces for alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related violence, says the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication.
New alcohol rules bring social cheer

Soul City, which has lobbied for many of the new rules in the National Norms through its Phuza Wize alcohol campaign, welcomed the norms and standards gazetted last Friday, February 13, by Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies.

The national rules, which are effective immediately, supercede local laws.  This was a critical demand of the Phuza Wize campaign since 2009, when research identified the lack of synergy between national, provincial and municipal laws, effectively allowing provinces and municipalities to bypass good national alcohol laws.

“We welcome these norms and standards as they provide an essential framework for safe drinking,” said Soul City’s senior advocacy manager Savera Kalideen.

“The norms have a sound evidence base for reducing alcohol-related violence as the majority of alcohol outlets in South Africa do not check the IDs of patrons, do not have good lighting, nor do they have security on site,” she added. “These are essential elements to keep patrons safe in alcohol outlets. Currently almost 50% of deaths and 75% of injuries caused by interpersonal violence are alcohol–related. We believe that the new norms will contribute to a significant reduction in these numbers.

“The norms make it harder to sell alcohol to underage persons,” she added.

The new rules for places with “on-consumption” licenses (for on-site consumption, like restaurants, bars and shebeens) that no guns or knives be allowed inside an outlet will in itself reduce levels of violence, notes Soul City.

“It is also encouraging to note that steps must be taken to avoid disturbing the neighbours. Given that the majority of outlets in SA are in residential areas, this is a significant inclusion. Alcohol outlets should abide by the same rules as all other businesses and these norms are the starting point to ensure that this does in fact happen in future,” said Kalideen.

As a health promotion organisation, Soul City is pleased that it has become mandatory to have condoms freely available.

“The link between the HIV and AIDS epidemic and alcohol consumption in our country has been widely documented, and this motivated us to lobby for the availability of condoms,” said Kalideen.

The organisation promoted the consumption of water when drinking alcohol in order to slow the rate at which consumers become intoxicated.

“The norms reflect this. We are very encouraged to see such a significant policy amendment and commend the Department of Trade & Industry for taking this step to safeguard public health, while also fulfilling its mandate to promote job creation,” said Kalideen.

For more information, contact
Savera Kalideen
Senior Manager: Advocacy
+27 11 771 7956  
+27 71 227 0939

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