The SA branch of the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa) urges the government to follow Grieve Chelwa and Corné van Walbeek’s suggestion to review the alcohol tax regime (“SA Ranks Sixth Globally as a Nation of Drinkers”, March 4). Beer is cheaper than a loaf of bread or a litre of milk in SA! The 2017 International Alcohol Control study in Tshwane found that 53% of participants could be classified as heavy drinkers and 93% of the absolute alcohol was consumed in heavy drinking occasions. In 2018 the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that of SA drinkers aged 15-19, 74% of males and 34% of females engaged in heavy episodic drinking. Annual expenditure on alcohol-related harm is more than R247bn and 172 South Africans die of alcohol-related causes every day. Since 2010 the WHO has recommended increased prices of alcohol, reducing access and availability and restricting marketing. In Thailand a 2% surcharge on alcohol products resulted in a decrease in consumption f...

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