‘Ad enough’: SA’s alcohol laws facing significant changes

The Communications and Digital Technologies Department could be responsible for some truly significant changes to the country’s alcohol laws. The department, led by Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, saw its Audio and Audiovisual Content Services (AAVCS) white paper published last week – and it takes a sharp swipe at the way liquor can be marketed.

Stella regulating Stella? It could happen…

According to these proposals, the law would be amended to bring in tighter controls on alcohol advertisements. Factors such as the locations of promotional materials would see serious changes, and Ndabeni-Abrahams herself would get a direct say in what constitutes an ‘appropriate watershed’ for booze ads.

The white paper breaks the proposals down in three sub categories, with 11 significant changes. Here’s what you should know:

It all ‘ads-up’ – how SA’s alcohol laws could soon change:

Advertising rules for people aged 21 and under

  • The proposals would place an outright ban on any promotional content that leads with ‘false or misleading claims’.
  • Targeting ads to people aged 21 or under – including the depictions of them drinking – would also be outlawed.
  • The white paper advises against using ‘images or icons with a unique appeal’ to those aged 21 or under.
  • Although the legal drinking age in South Africa would remain at 18, the ’21 rule’ aims to curb binge drinking amongst young adults.

Where advertisers can promote alcohol

  • Should these proposals become law, advertising liquor within 100 metres of a school would become a criminal offence.
  • Adverts in movies, cinemas, and theatres would also get pulled.
  • There’s even a plan to withdraw booze promotions on social media and in online advertising. Yikes…
  • Print media and leaflet distributions could also be regulated in the same manner.

Liquor ads could also fall under ‘ministerial control’

  • The Department of Communications would give its minister the power to decide ‘appropriate time slots’ for booze ads.
  • The minister, under these changes, would also be allowed to ensure the liquor companies explain the harmful effects of their products.
  • Relevant government officials may also decide if company or delivery vehicles can carry alcohol brandings.
Photo: Department of Communications


Presh JM Reporter

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