The South African government is proceeding with plans to impose a ban on alcohol marketing. Critics point at the financial consequences of the ban to make the government rethink their strategy.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi earlier this year stated that he would put on a fight to ban all forms of tobacco and alcohol advertising. During his budget speech he said: ‘No matter how financially powerful groups and institutions are, no matter how much money they make, I can stake my life that we are going to fight with our bare knuckles to achieve this,’ Motsoaledi said.

However the South African government is paving the way for less comprehensive measures. According to chief director of the Department of Social Development Conny Nxumalo the governments’ resolution on alcohol advertising was not intended to impose an outright ban but to introduce restrictions. Among these restrictions are time slots during which alcohol adverts could be banned from television, and the locations and content of adverts. Motsoaledi could not be reached for comment about the watering down of his plans.

When asked about the monetarily based arguments of opponents of the government plans Nxumalo told the South African Times Live: ‘Yes, we need to look at the economy, but the government also has to deal with the social ills of alcohol abuse. The government in all spheres is spending a lot of money on dealing with the problems resulting from alcohol abuse.’

The South African Times Live refers to a study by an independent market analyst which concludes that:

* About R800-million would be lost on sports sponsorships, development grants and forfeited marketing spending.
* Radio, lifestyle magazines and newspapers would lose R900-million;
* 2500 jobs would be lost, depriving about 30000 people of an income;
* R280-million would be lost in VATs;
* The ban would lead to a short-term drop in branded liquor consumption of 5% to 8%.

Source: The Times Live 07/05/11

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