Raising the legal drinking age to 21

I doubt it would have any effect whatsoever on the amount being consumed by teenagers in general, in fact, dare I speculate, that it would become more prevalent?

My eldest (18), came home last night with the boot of his little Tazz PACKED with papsakke and cases of beer - he and his buddies took the whole threat very seriously, pooled their money and spent around R400 on cheap booze which will be stored in MY house because I’m the only mom in the crowd that allows them to drink at home. :confused: (Not sure whether I’m impressed or not, but nevermind)

I enjoyed this article:

Let them have Beer

I shouldn’t have been - because nothing should be surprising on the internet - but I was still mildly taken aback at the clamour of online support for some faceless, nameless government nincompoop’s proclamation that the legal drinking age should be raised from 18 to 21 in South Africa.

I would imagine that the pea-brain thinking behind such a statement is to put a halt to underage drinking, thereby saving some impressionable youths from a lifetime of staring down the bottle, or at the very least ensuring they don’t dribble champagne onto their brand new Aramani suits when stumbling around ZAR and the like.

Mercifully, the online community does not represent the majority of South Africa’s thinking (if it does, heaven help us, because then we’re all damned), but I was dismayed at the fervent desperate housewife support said statement received. Numerous “Yes, yes this will save our young” or “It’s about time this happened” and “Alcohol should be banned outright” comments flooded News24 on the day of the report. And by the looks of things, many of these inane comments came from people who look like they should know better

(my bold :/)


while the idea behind this is admirable, the target market is hardly the kind that walk to the local spar to buy their papsak. if they want to drink, they will find a shabeen, somewhere, and they will get sold booze. no problem.
just more legislation that means buggerall.

Yeah prohibition has had such a profound effect on Tik usage, Dagga usage, Glue usage, and every other “indecent” substance out there. Surely prohibiting drinking should be a Resounding success! ::slight_smile:

Furthermore, stronger liquor surged in popularity because its potency made it more profitable to smuggle. To prevent bootleggers from using industrial ethyl alcohol to produce illegal beverages, the government ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols. In response, bootleggers hired chemists who successfully renatured the alcohol to make it drinkable. As a response, the Treasury Department required manufacturers to add more deadly poisons, including the particularly deadly methyl alcohol. New York City medical examiners prominently opposed these policies because of the danger to human life. As many as 10,000 people died from drinking denatured alcohol before Prohibition ended.[32]

Another lethal substance that was often substituted for alcohol was “canned heat,” also commonly known as Sterno. By forcing the substance through a make-shift filter, such as a handkerchief, to create a rough liquor substitute. However, the result was poisonous, though not often lethal. Many of those who were poisoned as a result united to sue the government for reparations after the end of Prohibition.[33]


And that has really stopped people not drinking from when they want to in the states. Hell, the 18 range here didn’t stop me from drinking before I was 18, and I doubt it would have for a lot of other people.

Most of the comment (not just here) that I encounter on this topic pertains to the practical enforcement of such a measure. I have been wondering about the desirability. The eighteen year old is generally out of school, may drive a car, vote, get married etc. Does it make sense to deny this age group a beer? I feel that people of that age who have not started taking responsibility for their lives, are never going to. On the other hand alcoholism among teenagers has become widespread. If I recall my personal circumstance at the time, it would not make sense to ban a student from having a beer, but my circumstances might not be representative.

There used to be a category of liquor licence for wine and malt only. Perhaps different age restrictions for different types of liquor could be considered?

On the other hand alcoholism among teenagers has become widespread

Indeed but raising the minimum age does not address that problem at all, I would think you’re out of the woods by the time you hit 18.

Moreover, I’ve always been of the same opinion as the person who wrote that article. A no-big-deal attitude by my parents wrt alcohol, the odd beer here and there on a sunday (even before the age of 18). Really led to me not being a heavy drinker. I partake, but in moderation. How do you rebel when there’s no-one to rebel against? You don’t, you realise getting drunk sucks, and you don’t do it.

OK,from my perspective:
The legal age was raised to 21 long before I ever approached 18, but from what I understand, one of the big reasons to raise it up was that 18 year olds in high school bought, and also bought for all the non 18s in high school.
The way our school systems/ year works, most students will turn 18 DURING their last year of high school. I can see how this could be a problem.
In my opinion, it is another law that is enforced heavily in many areas at ridiculous cost to the taxpayers.
There are also many who find it outrageous that we are OK with sending 18-20 year olds into war possibly to die, but do not allow them a beer.
I’m also with those here who have said that if teen alcoholism is a problem, it did not start at 18. I do remember sitting in some pubs back in Jo’burg, and would see large groups of kids come in and just start ordering. I distinctly remember a party of primarily Fourways students having a big party at an area pub. I did not see a single kid refused service, and I couldn’t believe it, because some did not appear to be more than 14 or 15 years old. If there is no enforcement, and no consequences for businesses to sell to underaged kids, then what difference does it make what the age limit is?
When I returned to the US, I noticed that stores and restaurants are WAY more strict than I remember about IDs for alcohol (and tobacco) sales. I do not know for sure, but I believe the monetary penalties for them to sell to minors has become pretty stiff. I have been “carded” a number of times, and I’m well past my early (OK and late) twenties. The rule in Texas is “if you appear to be younger than 40, be prepared to show ID”, and many corporates (like Wal-Mart) force the cashier to enter a birthdate if alcohol is scanned.
Lastly, age is not a great determining factor for when someone can handle alcohol. I have known teenagers who could drink and have a good time without becoming addicted or doing stupid things, and I’ve know people well past the teenage years and even 20s who seem to become total morons when they drink and/or drink WAY too much.
I believe if I were a lawmaker in ZA, I would be looking for evidence of some serious problems that would likely be solved by raising the age before I’d waste my time.

Beer and wine are considered staples in several European countries. They are freely available at supermarkets and there is no issue with consuming them in public, e.g. on the bus or train. These countries are certainly not known for their serious teenage drinking problems…