Tackling alcohol harms: Party manifestos, positions and the World Health Organisation’s ‘best buys’ for reducing harm

As South Africa approaches the 2024 elections, the impact of alcohol on society emerges as a focal point. The DG Murray Trust proposes a strategy inspired by the World Health Organisation’s ‘Best Buys’, aiming to restrict liquor trading times and increase the price of cheap alcohol. This article explores how various political parties align with these proposals in their manifestos.

The ANC manifesto recognises alcohol abuse as a major challenge. The party proposes a comprehensive national youth plan that focuses on prevention, intervention, and support, signalling a commitment to combat alcohol harms. The IFP echoes this call with a pledge to put together a comprehensive national plan to address alcohol abuse,

The DA, while not explicitly addressing alcohol harms in their manifesto, prioritises early detection and intervention programs. Emphasising rehabilitation in correctional institutions, the party underscores its dedication to creating a safer society through a path to recovery for individuals grappling with substance abuse. This stance aligns with the GOOD party’s health-centric approach to substance addiction, including alcohol abuse. The party advocates for the expansion of substance rehabilitation services and aims to provide young people with treatment opportunities rather than punishment. This is similar to the UDM’s manifesto which focuses on social reintegration, committing to providing programmes for vulnerable youth to reintegrate into the economic and social mainstream after falling victim to substance abuse – including alcohol. RISE Mzansi’s manifesto pledges efficient and legal regulation of alcohol sales within communities, coupled with diverting substance abuse victims to counselling and rehabilitation centres.

The ACDP takes a firm stand against alcohol abuse by aiming to shut down illegal shebeens and introducing fines for alcohol suppliers to illegal liquor outlets. Al-Jama-Ah also proposes the closure of shebeens and drug dens as part of its approach to addressing substance-related issues. Action-SA advocates for a zero-tolerance approach to selling alcohol on school premises. This policy underscores the party’s commitment to creating alcohol-free environments in spaces frequented by children and adolescents.

Meanwhile, the EFF manifesto calls for the complete ban of alcohol advertisements and advocates for strict measures against drinking and driving. Both measures align with the World Health Organisation’s five best buys for reducing alcohol harm. Additionally, the EFF also pledges comprehensive support for those struggling with substance abuse, reflecting a commitment to tackling alcohol harms head-on. Why then is the party opposing measures to restrict liquor outlet trading hours in Limpopo?

The FF+, BOSA and ATM’s manifestos are silent on specific measures related to alcohol harms reduction.

In conclusion, as South Africa navigates the political landscape, it becomes evident that parties have varied approaches to addressing alcohol harms. Some parties directly confront the issue, while others remain silent. The outcomes of the upcoming elections will play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s approach to reducing alcohol harms, with potential implications for the health and well-being of communities. Stay informed, stay engaged, and most importantly, exercise your right to vote!

To learn more about our work around alcohol harms reduction, visit the profile page that lays out the issues and possible solutions.

To learn more about our work to address alcohol harms and affect policy change, please read two policy briefs developed by DGMT’s new initiative, Change Ideas.

Implementing the WHO Best Buys

This brief examines the World Health Organisation’s alcohol best buys and explores how they align with some of the proposed changes outlined in the draft Liquor Amendment Bill.

Download brief

Combatting alcohol harms: Introducing a Minimum Unit Pricing

This brief advocates for the introduction of a Minimum Unit Pricing policy as a crucial strategy to combat binge drinking.

Download brief

DGMT has developed some learning briefs throughout the years. Click on the links below to read them.

Availability and advertising – twin drivers of youth binge drinking in South Africa.

Learn more

Alcohol Harms Reduction – Community-level interventions.

Learn more

How alcohol abuse diminishes the work of civil society and what we can do about it.

Learn more
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