If the new Liquor Product Act is passed in Parliament, the legal drinking age will change from 18 to 21-years-old. The Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources wants to amend the current Liquor Products Amendment Act, to broaden the scope of its regulations, as well as change the legal drinking age in South Africa.
On Tuesday, in Parliament, the committee accepted the Liquor Products Amendment Bill [B10B-2016], as presented by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
One of the major changes being proposed includes what exactly constitutes the make up of beer. Currently, there is a loophole which allows for any product, such as traditional African beer and other fermented drinks, to be manufactured and labeled as “beer” or “ale”.
Chairperson of the Committee, Olifile Sefako, said that the Bill has good intentions, and does not aim to suppress traditional practices or suffocate entrepreneurship.
The second major change being proposed is reducing the classification of the minimum alcohol content of beverages. This means that the minimum alcohol content in beverages will now be 0.5%, as opposed to the current 1.0%.
Other changes include new regulations for bottlers and restriction on advertising on drinks which contain “fresh juice”.
After a long consultation period, the Liquor Amendment Bill made its way to Parliament in March.
The current Bill proposes that liquor and methylated spirits be sold only to individuals over the age 18 and if changed, the age restriction would be 21 years and older. Alcoholic advertisements will then also be aimed at individuals who are 21 and older.
This will call for the prohibition of manufacturing, retail sale and distribution of liquor in both urban and rural communities at a location which is less than 500 metres away from a school, treatment and rehabilitation centre, place of worship, residential area or public institution.
The final proposed change will introduce an extension of liability for those who sell alcohol. Effectively, this means that the manufacturer and supplier of alcohol to unlicensed outlets will be liable for any damage caused by this unlawful distribution.