Don’t send children to buy booze, parents warned

24 November 2021 | Local News

TUYEIMO HAIDULA



OSHAKATI

Parents who send their underage children to buy alcohol will be charged with child abuse and face prosecution, the gender equality, poverty Eradication and social health ministry said.

Those found guilty will be charged as per the Child Care Protection Act of 2015, ministry spokesperson Lucas Haufiku said. Namibia does not sell alcohol to children under the age of 18.

This is part of amendments to the Act by the gender ministry to improve the lives of Namibian children. Implemented in 2015 and put to work in 2019, the ministry felt the impact of the Act was not good enough for those it’s meant to represent.

Haufiku said adults are prohibited from selling alcohol to children, inducing drinking or the use of any other substances, according to the Act.

He said any parent who sends their child to buy alcohol from shebeens and bottle stores on their behalf will face the full wrath of the law as the ministry will no longer tolerate child abuse.

Harrowing statistics

According to a 2019 report by the Legal Assistance Centre, underage drinking remains a problem in Namibia, with 53.5% of youth aged between 13 and 30 abusing alcohol.

Currently, the only Namibian law that touches directly on the subject is the Liquor Act 6 of 1998. ‘Liquor’ is defined for purposes of the Act as including any wine or beer containing 3% alcohol or more, as well as tombo and other home brews of the same strength.

A study by health ministry found that 29% of children aged 13 to 16 use alcohol regularly, 28.4% of youths use alcohol at least once a week and 6.8% of youths use alcohol daily.

Haufiku said there is a need to make clear provision on prohibiting this practice in residential childcare facilities, as such incidences have been reported.

“In these cases, facilities are not able to bring charges against such house mothers. Thus, there is a need to strengthen provisions against house mothers/caregivers who abuse, neglect or induce children to take alcohol or any other substances,” he said.

Haufiku added that there is also a need to strengthen other child protection measures for children who are placed in such facilities.

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