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Liquor surprise for pregnant women

Feb 6, 2012 | Sapa |   39 comments

Booze ban to be imposed

 'While the intentions behind the legislation are good, it presents a difficulty for the seller: how do they know if a woman is pregnant? Many women do not appear pregnant until the third trimester' - Industry's Association for Responsible Alcohol Use 

The draft Gauteng Liquor Bill of 2012, released today and awaiting public comment, will prohibit the sale of alcohol to pregnant women, the DA said.

“Pregnant women in this province are in for a surprise next time they stop off to buy a bottle of champagne,” spokesman Gavin Lewis said in a statement.    

According to section 53(1) of the draft legislation, a licensed liquor trader would not be allowed to sell, supply or give alcohol to minors, anyone wearing a school uniform, anyone who “reasonably appears to be intoxicated”, or pregnant women.

“Actuated no doubt by the real concerns around foetal alcohol syndrome, this provision is likely to have all sorts of unanticipated consequences in the law courts,” Lewis said. These included possible conflict with the Constitution and gender equity regulations, he said.

Meanwhile, according to the draft legislation, a licence application must be accompanied by the “broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) or black economic empowerment status of the applicant indicating the shareholding, member’s interest or partnership structure of the applicant”.

Section 17(1) states that the MEC may issue regulations directing that all applicants must meet a certain BBBEE status within a determined period.

Lewis said the BEE provisions in the bill could add to the burden of small businesses, who would likely find it more difficult  to implement than big industries.

Despite these concerns, Lewis said the bill did indicate “a real desire to clamp down on substance abuse” and tighten the responsibilities of liquor outlets.

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