Sonke Gender Justice (‘Sonke’) welcomes the opportunity to provide public comment on the draft Liquor Amendment Bill, 2016 (‘the Bill’) to the Department of Trade and Industry (‘the Department’).
Sonke is a non-profit, human rights and social justice organisation that strives to achieve gender equality in South Africa by building capacity and mobilising communities. Sonke works to create the change necessary for women, men, young people and children to enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies.
Sonke’s core advocacy objectives are the promotion of gender equality, prevention of domestic and sexual violence, and the reduction of the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS.
Our interest in providing comments on the Bill stems from our awareness and great concern around the inextricable link of alcohol abuse to gender based violence (GBV), which includes sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence. Furthermore, we recognise the linkages between alcohol use, unsafe sex and consequent transmission of HIV – effects seldom taken into account when calculating the harms of alcohol and developing mitigation strategies.
Sonke applauds the introduction of several provisions in the Bill that serve to place restrictions on alcohol use and highlight the harms related to alcohol abuse. In this submission, we make evidence-based arguments for these positive advancements as well as provide recommendations for further alcohol control mechanisms.