President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet has issued a statement dismissing claims that it is divided over the Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill.
Bathabile Dlamini (Image: GCIS)
Cabinet said on Wednesday (16 October) it had noted the "mischievous" media reports related to the Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill. The media reports allege a division over the decision to approve the Bill.
Acting Cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams said the post-Cabinet statement issued on 18 September reported that Cabinet had approved the publishing of the bill for public comment.
"Cabinet's decision was also affirmed in a media briefing conducted by the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, together with the Deputy Minister of Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa on 20 September. Dlamini's statement is available on the Department of Social Development's website," said Williams.
She said there should be no confusion in this regard, as both the post Cabinet media statement and the minister's subsequent statement clearly articulate that Cabinet approved gazetting of the bill. The date of gazetting is still to be determined by the minister.
Dlamini said recently government was confident that the bill will reduce alcohol related harm in South Africa and take citizens closer to the realisation of a healthier nation.
The bill seeks to reduce the exposure to advertising and promotion of alcohol.
Currently, alcohol advertising is regulated by the Liquor Act 59 of 2003. There is also 'self-regulation' of advertising of alcohol products through a Code of Commercial Communication of Alcohol Beverages drawn up by the Association for Responsible Alcohol Use and which most companies and advertisers adhere to.
Despite claims from the industry that children and youth are not targeted, international research indicates that advertising does influence child and youth behaviour.
The 'tangible' cost to the country of alcohol related harm across government departments has been estimated at around R38bn, while research indicates that the 'intangible' costs could be as high as R240bn.
Alcohol is the third leading risk factor for death and disability in South Africa - after unsafe sex, violence and injury. Alcohol is responsible for around 130 deaths every day.