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Liquor Policy Under Review

June 17, 2022

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

A process to review the Liquor Policy and encourage the coordinated strategy of measures on liquor abuse in South Africa is underway.

The trade, industry and competition department announced this in a briefing in parliament on the consumer and corporate regulation programme.

The department also confirmed that a review of the Draft Liquor Bill is also underway.

The draft bill was published for comment in 2016.

It flows from the Liquor Policy.

The proposed legislation aims to, inter alia, provide for:

• the restriction of advertising of liquor or methylated spirits;
• trading days and hours for the distribution and manufacturing of liquor or methylated spirits;
• the prohibition of the supply of liquor or methylated spirits to persons under the age of 21;
• auxiliary conditions for granting of liquor license;
• the prohibition of trading in liquor within certain radius;
• the recognition and functions of persons designated as inspectors;
• the repositioning of the National Liquor Authority as the Regulator;
• the establishment of an internal review mechanism;
• the proximity location for manufacturing and distribution of liquor; and
• the issuance of the Broad-Based Black Empowerment level of compliance and guidelines for combatting socio-economic harms caused by liquor abuse.

According to the department, the draft bill was under discussion in Nedlac in 2017 and was tabled in the cabinet committee in 2018 where certain issues were raised.

The department added that the elections in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic affected the processing of the draft bill.

The magnitude of challenges posed by Covid-19 prompted the department to seek a government coordinated approach in addressing the issue of alcohol abuse and/or binge drinking following realisation that the draft bill, in its current form, will not be sufficient to address the challenges.

The department, on 22 September 2021, hosted the “intergovernmental engagement on liquor with the aim of proposing a coordinated approach that government need to undertake to resolve the challenge of liquor abuse and/or binge drinking”.

Other developments include:

  • Regulatory Impact Assessment on the Lotteries Act concluded in Q4 for 2021/22 – a policy to be drawn up and legislative process undertaken;
  • National Gambling Amendment Bill tabled in parliament in 2018 – bill lapsed in 2019 and was revived by the 6th parliament – rejected by the national council of provinces in December 2021 and referred to the mediation committee;
  • Draft Companies Amendment Bill published for comment in 2021 – draft bill addresses disclosures of remuneration and pay gaps, the disclosure of shares ownership to combat money laundering and meet international obligations, as well as reducing red tape identified during implementation of the act since 2011 – draft bill to be tabled in cabinet for approval for tabling in parliament – plans to table draft bill in parliament in 2022/23 financial year – a second Draft Companies Amendment Bill with a focus on corporate governance and participation of workers in company boards structures to be developed this financial year;
  • National Credit Amendment Act of 2019 to be reviewed – Regulatory Impact Assessment conducted in 2019 that highlighted possible unintended consequences with the act – areas to be addressed to avoid unintended consequences; and
  • Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill currently before the national assembly – recommitted to the portfolio committee on trade and industry in 2021 – bills returned to parliament in 2020 for consideration of president Ramaphosa’s reservations about their constitutionality – following discussions in May on the president’s reservations, the committee recommended that the NA rescind its decision to pass the bills, refer the bills to the JTM for reconsideration on tagging and refer the bills to the committee to correct the procedural and substantive concerns.

The department also recently briefed parliament on the Retail–Clothing Textile Footwear Leather Master Plan 2030.

The Master Plan was finalised in 2019 as a means to build a stronger foundation for the industry, drawing in retailers, manufacturers (textiles, clothing and footwear), cotton producers and organised labour, working together with government.

Implementation priorities include rolling out the industry growth programme over the next 12 months; higher levels of local procurement; more action against illegal imports; transformation and exploring export opportunities.

Meanwhile, in Government Gazette 46543, the department published its 4th Generation Environmental Implementation Plan in terms of the National Environmental Management Act.