Alcohol: Africa Gauteng Liquor Bill

Africa

Gauteng Liquor Bill Update…

Free Market Foundation attacks “apartheid-style” liquor, tobacco laws

12 April 2013
By Khulekani Magubane
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NEW regulations affecting the liquor, tobacco and other industries are reminiscent of apartheid laws and will cripple small businesses, the Free Market Foundation has said.

Restricting the sale of liquor to certain days is the latest in a raft of regulations by the Department of Health. The proposals have been met with contempt from businesses and society in general.

“When I read this Gauteng Liquor Bill, I think: has Verwoerd’s ghost somehow occupied the minds of Gauteng legislators? This is Verwoerd and Vorster and Strijdom reincarnated,” Free Market Foundation executive director Leon Louw said in Johannesburg this week.

The bill aims to prohibit the trade of liquor in the province on Sundays. However, Cape Town last week quietly scrapped a similar proposed ban of liquor sales on Sundays, and it is looking increasingly likely Gauteng may follow in the city’s footsteps.

Mr Louw said the proposed regulations showed the authorities believed voters were “intelligent enough to vote for you but too stupid to decide how to live their lives”.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said last month that proposed amendments to legislation such as the Tobacco Products Control Act were in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) commitments and conventions.

The amended act would ban smoking in a number of public places, making antismoking legislation even more restrictive than it is now.

Dr Motsoaledi said health ministers attending a summit in New York in 2011 “were urged to put measures in place and address this explosion of health problems”.

“If we ignore this, many countries, especially in this region, will not afford their health budgets,” he added at the time.

This week, Mr Louw said measures proposed by the WHO were not mandatory and did not specify that countries had to put in place specific regulations.

He said measures such as better public education on life choices would be more effective in curbing the consumption of liquor and tobacco.

Mr Louw also said apartheid laws that restricted the consumption of liquor by black South Africans had the unintended effect of creating an underground liquor trade in townships.

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