Ramaphosa’s alcohol ban met with mixed feelings


Diana Chiyangwa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has with immediate effect reintroduced the ban on the selling if alcohol in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic but the move has been met with mixed feelings.

In his address on Sunday evening, Ramaphosa said the ban was in response to the sharp increase in the number of infections in the recent weeks.

South Africa now has over … cases and has recorded… deaths.

“The storm is upon us. But we can limit the damage that it can cause to our lives,” Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

The ban was received with mixed feelings from the generality of South African citizens as some celebrated while some were unhappy with the move.

Beer Association of South African chief executive officer Patience Pillay said they were concerned about the imminent job losses and illicit trade of alcohol.

“We can get to a solution if we come together and reinvest in this…”
Pillay said even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa has always had alcohol abuse challenges but lamented that the association has failed to get an audience from the country’s leadership.

“People will still obtain alcohol from the illicit trade, they will still brew at home using their own concoctions and our fear is that besides the economic impact, people will go back to illicit trade and brews,” Pillay said.
The ban on alcohol sales was imposed in March this year but was lifted on 1 June.

However, the lifting of the ban has resulted in a surge in Covid-19 cases as well as trauma cases linked to domestic and other forms of violence and also alcohol abuse.

NewsWorth spoke to a tavern owner in Vosloorus in the east of Johannesburg, Malusi Ngcobo, who said he feared the ban would cripple his business.

“I employ people who have families to feed so I think the ban on alcohol sales is going to do more harm than good,’ said Ngcobo.

Brian Sithole from Johannesburg opines that National Comman Council faltered in banning alcohol sales while at the same time allowing taxis to carry maximum capacity.

“How can they ban the sale of alcohol and legalize 100% taxi passenger capacity… has the President been in a taxi,” Sithole said.

Ramaphosa said the ban on alcohol sales would ensure reduced pressure on hospital beds.

South Africa now sits at number 10 globally in terms of Covid-19 infections. By Monday, 276 242 cases had been recorded and 4 079 deaths recorded.

South Africa has also enforced a curfew from 9pm to 4am. The country remains in level 3 lockdown with stricter enforcement measures.

The National State of Disaster has also been extended to 15 August 2020.

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