South Africa's National Liquor Policy, which was published
for industry comment in the official Government Gazette on 20 May
2015, has resulted in much controversy, most notably in the alcohol
and advertising industries, for a variety of reasons. The National
Liquor Policy, if accepted in its entirety, may see criminal
liability levied against bar tenders who serve already intoxicated
patrons; an increase in the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 and
the end of CASTLE lager's (South Africa's most famous beer)
sponsorship of South Africa's national sports teams.
Although the period for comments has come to a close, Cabinet
reported that, in the week commencing 6 June 2016, it will debate
only the proposal that seeks to amend section 9 of the Liquor Act,
59 of 2003, which relates to the advertising and marketing of
alcohol products in South Africa.
The National Liquor Policy seeks to amend those provisions of
the Liquor Act that relate to the advertising and marketing of
alcoholic beverages by empowering "the Minister of Trade and
Industry to determine the restrictions and parameters for
advertising and marketing of liquor products in line with the
Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill." Although
Cabinet has already approved the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic
Beverages Bill, the bill has not yet been published for public
comment. According to the National Liquor Policy, however,
"the bill is calling for the restriction of advertisement of
the alcoholic beverages, prohibition of sponsorship and promotion
associated with alcoholic beverages." Should this amendment be
accepted into law, the Minister of Trade and Industry will be in a
position, for example, to prescribe when adverts featuring alcohol
may be flighted. The suggestion that has been made is that
advertisements featuring alcohol products may only be flighted
between 22h00 and 06h00.
The current position prevents advertisements pertaining to
alcohol beverages from being flighted between 14h00 and 17h00 on
Monday to Friday and only after 12h00 on Saturdays and Sundays.
During the permitted advertising hours, the 70/30 rule also
applies, which provides that "programmes with a verifiable 30%
or more viewership of persons under the age of 18 may not contain
alcohol beverage advertisements" (see Appendix A –
Alcohol Advertising - ARA). This applies also to the flighting of
sporting events where the main sponsor is an alcohol beverage
It will certainly not only be in the public's interest to
hear the outcome of Cabinet's views.
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