Generally Sonke supports the Liquor Amendment Bill. Our submission draws attention to the serious harms related to alcohol abuse, namely: the perpetration of violence – specifically gender-based violence (GBV) – and the increased transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Evidence shows that reducing alcohol use can reduce the incidence of GBV and HIV. We therefore support initiatives that serve to place restrictions on access to alcohol.
Besides providing commentary on some of the existing provisions in the Bill, Sonke recognises that two key alcohol-prevention interventions are absent from the Bill. Namely: increased taxation on alcoholic products, which has proven to be highly effective in reducing alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking, as well as the placement of graphic warning labels on alcoholic products.
We hope that the Department of Trade and Industry will take our comments and recommendations into account, especially with regards to prevalence and gravity of alcohol-related harms in South Africa.