Protecting religion in schools protects the identities of learners

In June the South Gauteng High Court ruled that religious practices may be observed by learners and educators at public schools, but a public school may not hold out as a school that affiliates with a particular religion. Muhammad Zakaria Suleman unpacks the judgment and its consequences. The Court has ruled that no public school may profess to be a school of one religious preference, but children and teachers have a right to practise their respective religions at the school they attend – so long as the participation is…

Sending smoke signals: lessons from the ban on advertising tobacco products

In the second part of this series we looked at how the banning of alcohol advertising would contribute to lessening the burden alcohol-related incidents have on the public health system. In the last part of this series, Muhammad Zakaria Suleman looks at the tobacco industry, life after banning and asks if there are any lessons to be learned. In 1999, the Tobacco Products Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) was amended to prohibit the advertising and promotion of cigarettes products in relation to sponsored events. In 2005,…

An alcohol advertising ban could improve public healthcare

In the first part of this series we looked at how little legislation regulating alcohol advertising there is, and how the industry has been left to regulate itself. Muhammad Zakaria Suleman asks whether self-regulation is enough or whether alcohol advertising should be banned. The public health sector monitors the effect and burden alcohol has on the health system, also builds a case for the banning of alcohol advertising. Let’s look at some numbers. In the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ), Charles Parry, director of the…

Alcohol advertising: to ban or not to ban? That is the question – Part 1

Alcohol is a harmful substance. At least, that's what the Constitutional Court said in the 1997 S v Lawrence case. Excessive alcohol consumption is “universally regarded as a social evil” linked to “crime, disturbance of the public order, impairment of road safety, damage to health, and has other deleterious social and economic consequences”. The remark was made in the context of regulating access to and use of alcohol; it is one of the reasons why the Liquor Act was created: to balance the right to trade alcohol through the…