Mahlangu was giving a testimony about his life at a seminar on curbing alcohol abuse that was hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
The seminar is part of the consultation process with stakeholders and industry on the draft National Liquor Policy Review which is currently open for public comment until 13 August 2015.
He highlighted that although he was talented at playing soccer, alcohol abuse played a huge role in destroying his life and his career.
He described alcohol as a serious disease and said he was involved in a lot of motor accidents because of the behaviour.
The former soccer player encouraged parents to take responsibility for their children and ensure that they utilise their freedom in a responsible manner as this behaviour could ruin lives.
Speaking at the same event, a representative of the University of Pretoria, South African Students Congress (SASCO) at the University of Pretoria, Tumelo Rasebopye, said in order to facilitate student success, restriction of alcohol consumption was important. He said the University of Pretoria had put in place measures to regulate alcohol consumption on campus.
“In order to create a culture that focuses on learning and to reduce [the] promotion of behaviours that will be harmful to the future of students, the university has put in place policies to regulate access to alcohol. The municipality has also been engaged to rezone the areas that are in close proximity of the campus to ensure that there are no clubs that sell alcohol to students,” he added.
Rasebopye highlighted the support from the student leadership for government to increase the liquor consumption age from 18 to 21 years of age.
The seminar also discussed the significance of restrictions on advertising and prohibition of sponsorship.
Chief Director for Non-communicable Diseases at the Department of Health, Dr Melvin Freeman, said government needed to ensure that the environment is not encouraging for people to abuse alcohol.
According to him, advertising is one of the factors which, through mobilisation and glamorisation of the behaviour makes it “cool” to consume alcohol. He stressed that people should not be exposed to messaging that drinking is acceptable.
Deputy Director-General at the Department of Social Development, Conny Nxumalo, highlighted the coordinated approach that government has adopted in regard to alcohol abuse through the Inter-Ministerial Committee that President Jacob Zuma established in 2010.
The dti has published proposals for public comments which include strengthening the approach on combating liquor abuse and illegal trading, including adjusting the age limit for the supply of liquor, also enhancing the liability for traders to ensure that liquor traders operate in a socially responsible manner.