100 signatures reached
To: Minister of Trade Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel
Say no to beer sales in food shops!
We call on the Minister of Trade Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, to not allow the sale of beers in supermarkets.
Why is this important?
South Africa rates 5th in the world in the amount of alcohol consumption among drinkers . In addition, alcohol use plays a role in about half of all non-natural deaths .
Despite this, the alcohol industry continues to be bold and aggressive in its quest to increase the availability of alcoholic products and make more profits. The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) in October started calling for beer to be sold at food shops . This is in direct contravention of the National Liquor Act (2003), which prohibits the sale of alcohol other than natural wine at grocery stores and supermarkets. The association must be swiftly stopped in its tracks to protect South Africans from more alcohol harm.
According to global trends, the government is supposed to be decreasing access to alcohol by limiting availability in the interest of public health. South Africa already has a disproportionate number of outlets for the population. Those who are supporting the move to allow beers into our food shops are supporting increased harm.
If beer is made available in food shops, it will increase easy access and potentially come with discounts and special offers. Some will argue that individuals have the right to choose and take responsibility for their own health, but we know it is not that simple. Individual choice is influenced by the environment in which consumers find themselves. Beers on the shelves of our food shops will increase availability and send a message that beer is just another normal product, like milk, bread, and chocolates. But alcohol is not an ordinary commodity.
Currently, South Africans who drink have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Statistics show that about one-third of people in South Africa aged 15 and above drink . However, of those who drink, two-thirds drink to the point of intoxication (i.e., binge drinking), causing harm to themselves and others. This practice also diverts government resources away from development priorities like managing alcohol-related harm through policing, trauma admissions, social and disability grants and more.
Our Health Minister has already issued a public plea for South Africans to reduce their ‘drinking sprees’ because of the excessive burden alcohol-related cases place on the healthcare system . Already, the Health Ministry will have less budget available to it from next year because of budget cuts – it cannot afford to waste even more of its limited budget on a further increase in alcohol harm-related cases.
COVID showed us that less alcohol availability means less trauma and fewer hospital admissions. It means a safer society for our people. This call by the liquor industry is irresponsible, showing a disregard for the health and welfare of the public and for the government purse.
We call on everyone in Mzansi to support our call for #NoBeersInSAFoodshops. By signing this petition, you are joining us in saying we do not need beer in our food shops, there are enough places to buy beer.
 Parry South Africa: alcohol today. Addiction. 2005;100(4):426–9.