Notes on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill, 2016

Draft Liquor Amendment Bill

‘We want a national debate’ rings the invitation from Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on the amendments to the Liquor Act of 2003. As you may have heard by now, Minister Davies aims to tighten the grip on liquor trading, advertising, establish a National Liquor Regulator and also bump up the legal drinking age to 21.

Bullet notes on a few proposals listed in the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill, 2016

• Injury, death and/ or damage to movable and/ or immovable property by a person who acts negligently after purchasing liquor from an unlicensed retailer = both the person who caused the damage AND the unlicensed retailer may be held liable. Both may be held jointly and severally liable.

Scenario: David is severely intoxicated after consuming liquor purchased from an unlicensed retailer. David loses his balance and bumps into Mike’s motorbike standing outside, causing the motorbike to tip over. Joint and severally liable means that both David and the unlicensed retailer is responsible for Mike’s repair costs. Mike can claim damages from either David or the unlicensed retailer! It would be advisable to claim from the party with the deepest pockets (in most instances the retailer). The retailer would need to pay for the full bill and then worry afterwards about getting half of the payment back from David.

Mike would, however, need to prove that David bought liquor from an unlicensed retailer and that is where things might get tricky.

Stricter trading rules will mean that one may not trade in liquor within 500 meters from residential areas, schools, places of worship or recreational facilities  such as parks, public swimming pools, amenities, etc.

Stricter advertising rules will mean that an advertisement may not intend to “target or attract persons under the age of 21” and that the advertisement may not misrepresent the age of the person. In other words, advertisers would possibly need to use more mature models and not necessarily imitate young varsity students having a good time, etc. Pamphlets advertising liquor may not be distributed and billboards may not be placed less than 100 meters away from junctions, street corners or traffic circles. Advertising must furthermore reflect the harmful effects of liquor abuse. The bill does not specify to what extent the harmful effects must be noted (image/ sentence or two). In Namibia all cigarette cartons for example have a photo of damaged lungs or a fetus that is in harm’s way.

• The bill furthermore proposes a National Liquor Regulator who will be responsible for liquor license applications, fines, penalties, to oversee the liquor trade, to ensure that registrants comply with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, conduct relevant research, ensure the enforcement of the Act, etc.

How to comment on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill: Interested persons may submit their comments before the 30th of October 2016 in writing to the Director-General, Department of Trade and Industry, Private Bag x84, Pretoria, 0001 or hand deliver to 77 Meintjies Street, Block B, First Floor, Sunnyside, Pretoria or e-mail NRamphle@thedti.gov.za.

Click here to read the full notice as published in the Government Gazette.