“Alcohol is obviously for recreational purposes. People engage in alcohol when they want to go out and so on, and we obviously recognise the fact that if it is not used accordingly and properly, it might obviously cause a number of challenges for the consumer,” Michael Mabasa from the Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) told CNBC Africa on Thursday.
“We believe very strongly that as an association, we need to obviously make sure that we educate people to use this particular product responsibly so that they can be able to make sure that we’re able to not have problems that alcohol could potentially cost.”
The proposed ban on alcohol advertising will result in the loss of 4.3 billion rand per year for sports development, and cost the broadcasting media 1.5 billion rand per year. Businesses and sectors linked to the trade are also likely to suffer the same financial losses.
Mabasa explained that the ARA had called upon government to consider the economic implications on the proposed advertising ban. The alcohol industry has also called for more consultation on the advertising ban.
The ARA works with the various alcohol brands to ensure the promotion of responsible drinking but also receives an annual financial contribution from the alcohol companies.
“The different companies that are our members, they contribute. SAB contributes about two million rand towards the association, and also all other members. For you to be able to be a member of the association you make a contribution and we use that money to be able to devote it to different activities,” Mabasa added.
The Minister of Health has approached parliament to approve the bill that would approve ban, which Mabasa explained was without prior consultation with members of the industry.
“I have not seen that bill. As the association, we’re saying the minister has gone ahead to request cabinet to approve a bill that the industry has not engaged on. We feel extremely disempowered as the association and certainly as the industry,” he said.
“You cannot advocate for changes and not engage people who are actually producing this particular product. The only thing that we know as the industry is the public pronouncements that we’ve had the minister talking about in the media space. There hasn’t been direct consultation.”