The Western Cape government has published its Alcohol Harms Reduction Policy White Paper, which details how it plans to tighten restrictions on alcohol consumption in the region, including a provincial tax to increase the cost of alcohol.

Public comments have already been considered on the draft Alcohol-related harms reduction green paper, and this White Paper has been approved by the Provincial Cabinet.

The White paper informs amendments to liquor legislation, and proposals would be instituted by relevant departments. Stakeholders will be encouraged to implements programmes for the reduction of alcohol harms.

The paper cites concerns over high alcohol abuse in the region and states that this abuse is ultimately being subsidised by the taxpayer.

Some of the other big changes regarding alcohol are…

– A municipality-by-municipality limitation on the time of day that bottle stores and other stores are allowed to sell alcohol.

– A provincial tax to increase the price of alcohol across the board, as well as the introduction of new minimum pricing.

– Rezoning areas so as to prevent the illegal sale of alcohol in certain suburbs. It will also look to ban the sale of alcohol in areas which experience high drunk-driving fatalities.

– The removal of all bottle stores attached to grocery stores within five years. Bottle store owners could retain their licences‚ but outlets cannot be within 50 metres of a supermarket.

– A dedicated liquor enforcement centre as well as as increased sentencing for alcohol-related offences.

– No drinking and driving at all under the age of 21 (even if under legal limit) , or alternatively within the first three years of having received a driver’s licence.

– Encouraging manufactures to lower the alcohol level in the drinks currently being sold.

“(Government) acknowledges the importance of the alcohol industry, particularly in the Western Cape. The economic contribution is however dwarfed by the costs of alcohol-related harms and that – along with the other social harms – necessitates a revised policy focus aimed at reducing alcohol-related harms,” the White Paper says.

“To address demand drivers, the policy proposes lobbying for a national ban on alcohol advertising that is visible to any persons under the age of 18.

“On the provincial level, in the event that a total ban is not achieved, the WCG should prohibit advertising, marketing and promotion of alcohol products and companies at all WCG public facilities and events organised by the WCG.”

Read the full white paper here.

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