Government wants to ban people under 21 from drinking alcohol

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTi) published the National Liquor Policy for comment in the Government Gazette last week. Under the proposed new policy, the legal drinking age would be raised from 18 to 21 years.

The DTi has also called for stricter controls when it comes to selling and buying alcohol.

It says liquor is associated with a wide range of medical conditions, including cirrhosis, cancers of the tongue, mouth and throat, as well as depression. This is in addition to the physical and emotional harm caused by people under the influence of liquor.

The DTi’s chief director of policy and legislation, MacDonald Netshitenzhe, said further research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that a quarter of the accidents in which people needed to be hospitalised were caused by drivers under the age of 21.

“People older than 21 are mature enough to handle alcohol, but many times those under the age of 21 years will go over the legal limit when they drive, and are also more likely to speed,” he said.

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