Media release: Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi: "We are now gunning for alcohol advertising"
In March 2015, at the WHO 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi stated: “… About advertising. As you know, in South Africa we have totally banned any form of advertising of tobacco and tobacco products. We are now gunning for alcohol advertising. We have been told that the South African Broadcasting Corporation will lose R400 million per annum in income if we do that. And I told them, if I take R400 million from the Health Budget and give it to the SABC to advertise health and not alcohol, there would be a lot of gains for the country.” His host asked: “Are you are going to give them the money?” Dr Motsoaledi replied: “We are considering that.”
There is no scientific evidence confirming a link between advertising and increased alcohol consumption. Leon Louw, Free Market Foundation executive director, said: “Advertising is used by existing brands to increase existing market share or advertise new products to existing and new consumers.” He added: “As usual it will be consumers and start-up businesses – SMEs - that are negatively impacted by government regulation. Reduced or prohibited advertising will stop consumers from being informed about new products, and make it impossible for new producers to compete with existing producers.”
Louw says that transformation is only possible if the state stops preventing it. “Government regularly complains that the private sector has not transformed, yet government itself is largely to blame”. “Excessive regulation makes for an effective barrier to entry for the little guy. How can he get a foot in the door if he cannot tell potential consumers he exists? How does this help small businesses grow and create jobs?”
Sunday Times journalist Asha Speckman reporting for Business Times June 5, noted: “Motsoaledi’s department was tasked with conducting an impact assessment. This was submitted to parliament but never made public.”
Louw queries why the impact assessment has not been made public and said: “All impact assessments should be carried out by an independent, specialised and autonomous body, not by the department drafting the regulations being assessed. Anything else does not make sense”
The FMF urges government to implement its own policy by conducting an independent impact assessment on the DTI’s proposed policy regarding alcohol advertising and other proposals, and to halt and even reverse the trend of regulations that abuse consumer rights and make it difficult if not impossible for emerging businesses to enter the market and compete.
FMF Media Release
Progress through freedom
Publish date: 09 June 2016
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.