Liquor consumers can breathe a sigh of relief as a second ban on alcohol sales is not on the cards because of the rapid spread of Covid-19.
Over the past few weeks, politicians, including EFF leader Julius Malema, have been calling for the government to reinstate the ban on alcohol sales under level 3 lockdown, after a spike in crime and trauma incidents.
However, speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the ban was off the table, for now …
Magashule said the reversal of alcohol sales was not on the agenda but acknowledged that SA has a problem with alcohol abuse. He also linked alcohol abuse to the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).
“As a society, we must look into the matter of how alcohol impacts it, as part of our broader programme to reconstruct our communities and strengthen families.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed Magashule’s statement on alcohol consumption.
Responding to questions in a virtual “presidential imbizo”, Ramaphosa said the consequences of lifting the alcohol ban have been regrettable
He said though the unbanning of alcohol was to make provision for a better economy, it has revealed an “ugly side of society” and led to “gender-based violence, road accidents, stab wounds, gunfights”.
“The trauma units in our hospitals were relatively empty during the lockdown and after the relaxation of the alcohol ban, they’ve been clogged with cases,” said Ramaphosa.
He said a serious discussion about alcohol consumption needed to be had.
“They have now been clogged with a number of cases resulting from road accidents, stab wounds, gunshot wounds and violent encounters that many of our people have had and that is deeply regrettable.”
At the same time, Ramaphosa said during the ban the illicit trade of alcohol led to other serious problems that were a danger to people’s health.
“We cannot ban alcohol forever. Where it has been banned, we found that the illicit trade that happened around alcohol resulted in many more serious problems which were dangerous to the health of people.
“Not that alcohol is not dangerous, it is when it is over-consumed. But there are quite a number of other negative side effects of alcohol.”