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Enyobeni tragedy: Ramphosa is instructing the nation to do more to curb underage drinking

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to do more to curb underage drinking in the wake of the Enyobeni pub tragedy, in which 21 youths perished.

He asserted that a candid talk about alcohol and setting boundaries is necessary for the nation.

In a letter published in his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa said that in a nation where the majority of drinkers are categorized as binge drinkers by the World Health Organization, the rising social acceptance of young people consuming alcohol has become a severe issue.

According to him, teen drinking is linked to reduced function, learning absences, injuries from drinking, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and dangerous behavior.

To battle this vice that is robbing our youth of their prime years and rendering them vulnerable to alcohol addiction, we must band together. Setting limits and having honest discussions about alcohol use within the family are necessary.

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to consume alcohol.

Ramaphosa urged adults to abstain from behaviors like asking minors to buy alcohol on their behalf or giving in to requests to do so.

According to him, horrific occurrences like what occurred in East London's Scenery Park were not new to SA.

"The Throb nightclub disaster in Durban in 2000 and the Osi's tavern tragedy in Khayelitsha in 2015 have one thing in common: these venues were providing alcohol to minors," says the report.

According to Ramaphosa, the prevalence of businesses blatantly breaking the law demonstrates a failure on the part of the authorities to police the law.

Owners of places with liquor licenses are prohibited from selling alcohol to individuals under the age of 18 by the National Liquor Act.

They must also take reasonable measures to guarantee that everyone to whom they sell alcohol is of legal drinking age, he added.

"We urge localities to cooperate with law enforcement to make sure that bars, shebeens, entertainment venues, and other businesses that break the law are held accountable.


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