A South African student organization wants the age restriction on alcohol and tobacco consumption to be raised to 21 years from 18, saying the current limit allows students to drink alcohol while still in school.
“Young people who are at the age of 18 are either in high school or in institutions of higher learning and training, and should not be allowed to consume alcohol nor tobacco…due to the fact that both substances are addictive and have a negative impact in the lives of young people‚” Congress of South African Students (COSAS) said in a statement.
The body said the substances made it hard for young people to achieve academic excellence, and were partly to blame for school drop-out cases.
“These substances make it hard for young people to achieve academic excellence and are part of the cause of high school dropout. The consumption age of these substances should be increased to 21 and the government should work twice as hard to prevent the consumption of these substances,” it added.
COSAS also called for the prosecution of those found to be consuming alcohol and tobacco while still below the age of 21.
“Those found to be participating in such activities should be found and prosecuted. The justice system must give harsh sentences … because they seek to destroy the future of South Africa,” it said.
The student body also rejected calls for the legalization of marijuana in South Africa, “until the government intensifies the police force to ensure no illegal consumption of the substance will take place”.