South Africa: Alcohol Ad ban delayed againThe proposed, and approved by cabinet, plans for a ban on alcohol advertising in South Africa have been put on hold again. The ban is now pending an independent regulatory impact assessment (RIA) commissioned by the South African Department of Health.

In late November the Department of Health asked proposals for a regulatory impact, service providers could apply until early January. The assessment should be completed within three months from the date on which the contract will be awarded‚ it should include a cost-benefit analysis and consider the compliance and implementation costs of the proposed law and examine alternative options to achieve a reduction of alcohol-related harm.

This news means the latest in long line of delays in the implementation of the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill‚ which Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is trying to get onto the statute books for over three years now. The draft bill was first contemplated in 2010‚ when an inter-ministerial team was established to investigate the proposal. The bill was approved by cabinet last September; however no mention was made about conducting a regulatory impact assessment.

The regulatory impact assessment is likely the result of pressure following concerns of the Ministry of Communications, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the alcohol industry, who argue that a ban will have a negative impact on South African revenue that will be bigger than the health benefit.

However, the Ministries of Health and Social Development remain determined. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told the media: “Alcohol advertising still glamorises and encourages the use of a product that causes serious harm to individuals and to society and‚ despite claims from the industry that children and youth are not targeted‚ international research indicates that advertising does influence child and youth behaviour.”

Source: 06/01/14

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