'SA becoming nanny state'

The Centre for Constitutional Rights says the public is not being consulted on new legislation.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - The Centre for Constitutional Rights on Tuesday held a panel discussion on whether South Africa was becoming a nanny state.

This follows attempts by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to ban alcohol advertising.

Some argue that citizens should be able to make up their own minds regarding health regulations.

Despite the criticism, Motsoaledi has vowed not to back down.

He also wants food manufactures to use less salt in their products.

In March, Motsoaledi signed an amendment to the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1976 stipulating that there would be a ­maximum amount of sodium allowed in an array of food.

Centre for Constitutional Rights Professor Johan Kruger told the Kieno Kammies Show that South Africa should debate whether it was becoming a nanny state.

"What's happening at the moment is that ministers and the national executive would come up with legislation and in quite a number of instances, legislation is not consulted with the public in the policy and the drafting phase."

He said a number of rights were being curtailed in this manner.

"Whether it's a good or a bad thing, its' a decision for experts to consider when it comes to matters such as smoking or health regulation."

Kruger said the public should be allowed the freedom to choose.

"I think the concern is that we live in a constitutional democracy based on fundamental freedoms and the right to choose. The right to reform policy should be done in a process where the public is informed and should be consulted on what they want."

He also accused ministers of not following proper procedures.

"The policies that we are seeing coming out of government are from Pretoria rather than from Parliament. A lot of what we're seeing is regulation and not legislation."