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Alcohol ad ban: Motsoaledi adamant again, industry aghast again

Speaking in the National Assembly last week, Motsoaledi said the “new threats to the world” were non-communicable diseases, sparked by lifestyle choices like smoking, lack of exercise and alcohol use.

Those who criticised the proposed restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorships had to realise the seriousness of these, said Motsoaledi: “We are not playing a game. We are faced with a titanic battle.

“When we put caps (on alcohol advertising), we don’t punish people. We are doing so because the world is facing disaster,” he added.

The Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill was last month gazetted for public comment. The cabinet approved it following discussions which reportedly raised the temperature between health and social development, who supported it in the interest of health, and sports and recreation and the economy-related portfolios which raised concerns over, among other things, loss of sponsorships.

Meanwhile, Brandhouse has reiterated that if the bill was passed, the alcohol industry would have to retrench 12 000 workers.

Passage of the bill would mean a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sport.

Brandhouse said the industry had invested R700 million in sport – “R40m in grass roots development, including Safa leagues, affecting 30 000 young players,” said spokesman Sibani Mngadi.

He said the industry had spent R541m advertising on SABC radio and television stations, R440m on DStv, R300m on, R192m on print and R114m in cinemas since last year.

The Association for Responsible Alcohol Use, which represents alcohol producers, said its request to provide input on the bill had been ignored.

“We agree there is a problem of alcohol abuse, but there can be a better solution than banning advertising,” said spokesman Mike Mabasa.

SA Breweries and Brandhouse appeared before the portfolio committee on sport and recreation in Cape Town last week to discuss how the ban will affect sport.

The Health Department did not attend. Spokesman Popo Maja said the department was not prepared to engage the alcohol industry – its aim was to preserve life and it was concerned about the many people admitted to hospitals because of alcohol-related injuries.

Social Development spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said her department would also not be there and the industry would be consulted after the bill has been gazetted.