Soul City welcomes government steps to open public discussion on Draft Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill

Soul City has welcomed cabinet’s decision to release the Draft Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill for public consultation.

Soul City, through its Phuza Wize Drink Safe Live Safe Campaign has supported the continued urgency in finalising the bill, noting links between alcohol abuse and health and social harm such as interpersonal violence. The department of health, in announcing the bill, noted that tangible costs of alcohol abuse to the health system was almost R38-billion while intangible costs could reach R240-billion. In addition, the Department of Transport reported that data on non-natural deaths in South Africa indicated that 56% of transport related deaths had positive blood alcohol levels.

This well-documented impact of alcohol abuse on individuals, families, communities, government services such as health and social development and, ultimately, the country as a result of the drain on the fiscus, motivated Soul City’s continued call to support the release of the bill.

Soul City also welcomes the multi-pronged and holistic approach of the Bill which shows the intention to address alcohol-related harm in a comprehensive manner. This aligns the Bill with international best practice which recommends the banning of alcohol advertising as one of several evidence–based measures needed to deal with the devastating health, social and economic impact of alcohol-related harm.

“We commend the government for taking action in a holistic manner. We welcome the opportunity that this provides for the South African public to engage on this issue,” said Soul City Advocacy Manager Savera Kalideen.

“This bill is too critical to only be discussed within small interest groups with a financial stake in the continuation of the status quo. The cost to social cohesion, public health and the South African taxpayer is unacceptably high,” said Kalideen.

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