The leaked Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill drafted by the Department of Health which totally prohibits the advertising and promotion of alcoholic beverages has highlighted the fact that 2012 is going to be an important year in determining the future of wine marketing in South Africa.
Business Day newspaper reported that the draft bill has caused alarm in industry circles due to its heavy-handed approach. Some of the measures included in the draft include:
— totally prohibit the advertising of alcoholic products;
— permit only notices, which must be limited to “describing the price, brand name, type, strength, origin and composition of the product”, to be displayed inside licensed and registered premises. Notices must be accompanied by a health warning and must not be visible from the outside;
— prohibit the display of names and logos of alcoholic beverages on delivery vehicles;
— prohibit the linking of sports sponsorship to alcoholic brand names; and
–prohibit the promotion of alcoholic beverages through donations and discounts at events.
The newspaper reported that not everyone in the government is in favour of such draconian measures. The Department of Trade and Industry has said that the state had no definite plans to ban all advertising of alcoholic products and that all stakeholders would be consulted first.
The draft legislation is apparently being reworked by an interdepartmental government task team and a draft will go to a committee comprised on Cabinet ministers.
Without any doubt this debate is going to be one of the most important facing the alcohol industry this year.