The Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has said South Africa is planning to ban alcohol advertising in order to reduce violence fueled by excessive drinking.
He said the country has one of the world’s highest crime rates and even attracts foreign experts “just to learn to deal with wounds of injury and violence because we are regarded as a laboratory for that.”
He added that “The driving factor behind this is alcohol, the harmful effects of alcohol. We’re not going to pull back about the issue of alcohol control, including the banning on advertising of alcohol. It’s just a matter of time. It’s not an issue of whether, it’s an issue of when.”
Speaking at the World Health Organization, WHO, conference on violence prevention, Mr Motsoaledi said violence and injuries are the top killer in South Africa after HIV. He said about 3.5 million people are treated for injuries annually in an already overcrowded public system.
“If saving our people earns us a title of being a nanny (state), I very much welcome that title,” Mr Motsoaledi said.
According to the WHO, South Africa ranks 52nd among the world’s heaviest drinkers, and is one of the world’s most violent societies with 46 murders per day and high levels of rape.
WHO director of violence prevention. Etienne Krug. said “Violence is one of the biggest public health problems in the world. It did not get even one per cent of the attention given to other major challenges.”
“HIV kills 1.7 million people a year. Violence kills 1.5 million.”
Special adviser to Social Development Minister, Zane Dangor, while reacting said, a task team set up to probe the issue had adopted the approach that it was a public health issue rather than one of cost to the economy.
He added that the task team was looking at models used in other countries, saying they were particularly interested in France, where restrictions were placed on TV, internet and radio advertising of alcohol.