The sale of alcohol in South Africa has been linked to the high levels of gender-based violence (GBV) being perpetuated, and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has recommended that government look at further regulations around the sale of alcohol as a result.

Some of the recommendations include:

Minimum unit pricing: Introducing a minimum unit pricing on the sale of alcohol, including by increasing excise tax on the price of alcohol

Additional tax: A similar meta-analysis of the impact of altering alcohol tax showed that a doubling of tax led to a 35% reduction in alcohol-related mortality.

Stricter punishments: According to the Commission, government and law enforcement agencies must adopt a stern approach to dealing with alcohol abuse, through strict enforcement of current legislation dealing with alcohol including withdrawal of licenses from liquor traders that do not comply with regulations.

“The commission is convinced that the deliberations from the Webinar will assist the country in developing appropriate policy and programme interventions to address alcohol and substance abuse as contributing factors in gender-based violence,” the Commission said.

These recommendations are very closely aligned with proposals by the Western Cape government, which is also considering implementing further regulations around the sale of alcohol. According to Premier Alan Winde, the province’s dangerous relationship with alcohol must be addressed.

“Our Department of Health’s data showed that when alcohol was banned during the Hard Lockdown and subsequent restrictions, trauma cases in our hospitals came down notably,” he said, as reported by BusinessTech. “As soon as the sale of alcohol was allowed again, the number of trauma cases increased almost by the same percentage. The causality is as clear as day.”

He added that the Western Cape would propose “major amendments” to the Western Cape Liquor Act.

“As part of these amendments, I can announce that we have now put ‘per-unit-of-alcohol’ pricing firmly on the table for consideration,” Winde said. “This will make it more expensive to buy alcoholic beverages with higher alcohol percentages; an approach which evidence suggests can be effective in preventing binge drinking. This tougher approach must be matched with incentives for liquor outlets who do follow the rules.

“It also requires that we make it less burdensome for unlicensed vendors to become compliant, so that we can eradicate the illegal sale of alcohol in our communities. We must have the courage to get the job done on alcohol,” he added.

Picture: Pixabay

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