Still-life with beer glasses. On a white background.

South Africans are the highest consumers of alcohol in Africa, nearly double the continent’s average amount of alcohol per capita.

The BBC said South Africa “has the highest level of alcohol consumption in Africa per capita‚ nearly double the continent’s average”. The reporter‚ Pumza Fihlani‚ got this information from the WHO’s 2014 report on alcohol and health for the period 2008 to 2010.

According to Africa Check, data showed that South Africans older than 15 drank the equivalent of 11 litres of pure alcohol per person in a year. This was more than double the continent’s average (4.66 litres).

This, despite the sale of liquor being strictly controlled.

The Western Cape Liquor Authority said its inspectors continue to enforce the law.

“This is meant to enforce compliance with the provisions of the Western Cape Liquor Act. Following the stats from April last year to date, 10 liquor licences were revoked, four were suspended and three were fined by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal,” said assistant director at WCLA, Nwabisa Mpalala.

The WCLA continued to educate the public about liquor abuse, Mpalala said.

“We will continue to engage schools via industrial theatre to create awareness on the social harms of liquor abuse.”

About 58% of deaths on South Africa’s roads are alcohol-related‚ a higher proportion than any other country that supplies this data‚ according to the WHO.

The WHO’s figures are based on a three-year average of recorded alcohol consumption from production‚ import/export and sales statistics and on unrecorded intake using Food and Agriculture Organisation statistics and various modelling techniques.

Alcohol intake South Africa: 11.0 litres Gabon: 10.9 litres Namibia: 10.8 litres Nigeria: 10:1 litres Rwanda: 9.8 litres Uganda: 9.8 litres Burundi: 9.3 litres Sierra Leone: 8.7 litres Botswana: 8.4 litres Cameroon: 8.4 litres Source: WHO. The litres of pure alcohol are derived from the alcohol content of the drinks – for example‚ a 5.5 percent alcohol content means you’ll take in 41.25ml of pure alcohol in 750ml.

The graph shows that South Africans older than 15 drank the equivalent of 11 litres of pure alcohol a year. The continent’s average is 4.66 litres.

On average‚ South Africans consume between 10 and 12.4 litres of pure alcohol a person a year‚ according to local figures.

This is between 500 and 620 glasses of wine or between 1 000 and 1 240 shots of spirit a person annually.

Africa Check noted the health implications of excessive drinking: “Given that South Africa‚ Namibia and Botswana feature among the heaviest drinkers‚ it is no surprise that Southern African has the highest number of people dying of disease caused by alcohol intake in the African region.”

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