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Alcohol Law in South Africa

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551345-alcohol-laws-in-south-africa.imagesqtbnand9gcrvzijgohiu-8eg7-zp1mssy3kd4grny-omooey8sttojjdcdj-oaThe alcohol law in South Africa appears to be much more relaxed than that in other African nations due to the country's highly metropolitan culture. The government is pressing for tougher alcohol laws citing the instances of raising figures of alcohol and drug abuse. The Government is seriously toying with the idea of restricting alcohol within the parameters of time, location, harmonization of liquor legislation, review of liquor license, etc.


Read through the blog to get familiar with South African alcohol law.


Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in South Africa is 18 years. But government is mulling over raising the minimum drinking age to 21 years.  This decision is mainly due to the factual representation of accidental injuries that have occurred throughout the country in past some years. According to the South African Social Development Minister Bathabile Diamini-Alcohol is accounted for about 47% percent of fatal accidents and 29% of non-fatal accident cases registered in the country every year. She also stated that as per the WHO organization reports South Africa is one of the leading countries in the world with most number of alcohol abuse cases. Government believes that raising the minimum drinking age will aid in dealing with curbing the violence associated with public drinking and also help to significantly reduce the cases of drunk driving.


Appearance and Use of Alcohol in South Africa
Alcohol is sold through 23o, ooo estimated outlets across South Africa. It is believed that South Africans consume about 5 billion liters of alcohol every year. The Medical Research Council predicts that the alcohol consumption increases when the spending capacity of the low income group increases. It was recently found that many South Africans are addicted to the cheaper brands of alcohol which are sold through government recognized shops.  In many parts of South Africa, the dop system is active where the workers are paid partly in alcohol. All these factors account for the increasing cases of alcohol abuse within the country.


Drink Driving Laws in South Africa

The BAC level is set for 0.05 % (for ordinary drivers) and 0.02% (for professional drivers)in South Africa. But often authorities find it difficult to control the excessive drinking behavior of citizens. High alcohol concentration in blood is accounted for about 45% of accidental deaths in the main cities of South Africa. The government admits that there is a need for developing strong drink-driving counter measures.  Some of the suggestions put forward by SACENDU (South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use) are:


  • Implementing random –breath tests for all professional and general drivers.
  • Suspension of licenses if drivers were caught with alcohol levels greater than allowable limits.
  • Implementing a policy of gradual escalation for novice drivers. The drivers who were given the license for the first time should not be allowed to drive with even minute trace of alcohol in blood stream for about the first three years.
  • Alcohol levels of pedestrians should be checked by traffic police. The drunken pedestrians are also responsible for causing accidents.


Alcohol law in South Africa is expected to undergo great reform in coming years and government expects to curb the alcohol related violence and abuse cases and emerge as one of the alcohol safe countries in the world.  


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Alcohol Law In South Africa