Government wants to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years to curb alcohol abuse in South Africa

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says government wants to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years in order to curb abuse amongst young people.

The Minister said to clamp down on illegal alcohol sales through unlicensed outlets, the National Liquor Amendment Bill introduces a new clause of civil liability to manufacturers who supply liquor to these unlicensed suppliers.

The Minister said this when he briefed the media on the publishing of the National Liquor Amendment Bill and the National Gambling Amendment Bill for public comment.

Minister Davies said members of the public will have 45 days to comment on the two bills, which are aimed at helping to strengthen the enforcement and regulation of the two industries in order to minimise the social ills associated with them.

The Minister said he hoped the publishing of the bills will attract a reaction from the broader society.

“The first proposal that we are putting forward is that the legal drinking age be raised from 18 to 21.¬†We are hoping that this debate will involve not just people who have material interest in the industry, but also our communities and people that are involved in dealing with the consequences of alcohol abuse,” he said.

The Minister said the bill also proposes the inclusion of civil liability against those involved in illegal alcohol trade to improve enforcement.