The South African government has extended the deadline for submission of written public comments on the draft National Liquor Amendment Bill until Dec 15.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said in a statement Sunday that the extension was the result of constructive consultative sessions which the department had with the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry and the South African Liquor Brand Owners Association.

“The department also hosted a national liquor indaba (meeting) in Gauteng (Province) last month where it was apparent that affected stakeholders and associations need more time in order to provide valuable inputs on the Bill. We are happy that the extension will afford all of the stakeholders and members of the public at large more time to share their ideas and proposals with us on the bill,” Davies said.

The DTI had been hosting consultative sessions for oral public submissions and comments throughout the country since October as part of the national road show aimed at soliciting inputs on the bill from members of the public.

Next week, the road show would take in Lephalale, Moletjie, Mokopane, and Musina in Limpopo Province.

The African News Agency reported that last week, Parliament’s select committee on trade and international relations unanimously supported the liquor policy. Committee Chairman Eddie Makue said there was unanimity among all political parties that the policy was important and would contribute towards responsible drinking.

Makue said this would potentially deal with the aspects of safety and security in the broader society. “We need to look at the detrimental impact alcohol has on our society and give consideration to raising the sin tax such that it becomes a deterrent to the abuse of alcohol, especially by young people,” he said.

The Bill paves the way for raising the legal alcohol drinking age from 18 to 21 and a crackdown on liquor advertising, among other things.