South Africans with trust issues stockpile booze

CEBELIHLE BHENGU

Some South Africans have stockpiled alcohol despite government squashing fake reports on Tuesday about a reintroduction of the ban on liquor sales.

Many were in a state of panic and some threatened to protest as a voice note circulated claiming that President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation and reinstate the booze ban.

Twitter user Tebogo Ramaselele shared a video of a shopping trolley filled to the brim with beer as “he doesn’t trust uncle Cyril”. “I had to come stock up just in case he decided to ban alcohol again. Just to be on a safer side. Just had to get my favourite,” wrote Ramaselele.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who has been vocal about the negative effects of alcohol, said on Tuesday the government was in the process of introducing a bill which would prohibit motorists from driving with any concentration of alcohol. However, he emphasised this does not mean he is pushing for a total ban on alcohol.

Lungi Mtshali, spokesperson for the co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) department, told eNCA an investigation was under way to establish the origin of the voice note.

“We are investigating the source of this rumour because spreading fake news is a punishable offence under the Disaster Management Act, especially when it puts people’s lives at risk. We have people rushing to stock up on alcohol, and some of them had forgotten the social distancing protocols,” said Mtshali.

He said Cogta has not been directed by the president to gazette regulations relating to the booze ban. He said this was unlikely as the country’s health system has stabilised.

Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu dismissed the rumours as fake news.

Why do people have trust issues around alcohol sales?

On July 12, Ramaphosa had South Africans in a spin when he unexpectedly announced the ban on alcohol sales “with immediate effect”. The country was under level 3 of the lockdown at the time.

Ramaphosa said the cabinet had agreed to the decision due to concerns about an increase in incidents of violence and motor accidents which overwhelmed trauma and ICU units in hospitals.

These are some of the recent reactions on Twitter:

 

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