A new by-law which comes into effect in January 2011 will see new drinking hours introduced for Cape Town's bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants, which will open at 11.00 instead of 10.00, and close at 02.00 with the option of remaining open until 04.00. The city's off licences and supermarkets will be permitted to sell alcohol between 09.00 and 18.00 as opposed to their current hours of 08.00 until 20.00.
Amid concerns over the level of alcohol consumption in South Africa, there have been calls from within the South African government for the banning of alcohol advertising. Social development minister Patricia de Lille made her remarks after seeing firsthand the impact of alcohol abuse on South African communities. Speaking at a summit on substance abuse in Cape Town, she said that government-backed alcohol awareness programmes would not achieve much against the might of South Africa's liquor industry and its advertising campaigns.
South Africa is among the top three heaviest-drinking nations in the world, with the highest number of heavy drinkers and binge drinkers found in the Western Cape. The government estimates that alcohol abuse and its associated social and health consequences, including employee absenteeism, costs the South African exchequer over R1 billion annually.