Public warned to stick to the law this Easter weekend
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Cape Town - With concerns of liquor stockpiling and an increase in movement and gatherings amid Covid-19, law enforcers have warned it will be all hands on deck ahead of the much-anticipated Easter weekend.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption would be banned from tomorrow until Monday. On-site sales at restaurants, shebeens, and bars will be allowed, according to licensing conditions, until 11pm.
Ramaphosa said this was due to the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour.
However, Premier Alan Winde yesterday said he was not convinced that the temporary ban on off-site consumption would be effective. “Especially given the risks now being created by prepurchasing and stockpiling of alcohol in the run-up to the long weekend. Our Department of Health does not expect it to have any major impact on reducing trauma given this fact,” he said.
Winde urged residents to act responsibly by consuming alcohol in moderation, and by not drinking and driving.
Launching the provincial Easter season traffic safety plan yesterday, Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said measures will be enforced from today until Monday.
“As part of a first phase, we have been able to upload records of habitual offenders where vehicles that have 10 or more infringements recorded over the last six months will appear.”
Madikizela said the new method would in the long run have an impact on driver behaviour, increase compliance with road regulations and ultimately contribute towards a reduction in road fatalities this Easter.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said policing would be aimed at ensuring drivers and road users were safe at all times.
“The operational plan also focuses on residential areas, especially with a significant number of homeowners leaving over the long weekend. With neighbourhood watches, volunteers and security companies, police will be on patrol in various communities.
“Experience has taught the police that visibility in the vicinity of business premises is also a deterrent to those with an intent to perpetrate business robberies. It is on this basis patrols and deployments will be bolstered throughout the province,” she said.
Potelwa said the police would also keep a watchful eye on shebeens, taverns and other businesses to ensure compliance with their licence conditions and Covid-19 restrictions.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The restrictions are not entirely unexpected, so it is safe to assume that many people will have stocked up for the long weekend. Illicit alcohol sales will likely flourish too, and there could be additional pressure on on-site consumption premises, which could potentially create other challenges for enforcement staff.”
Smith said his department’s various patrols and roadblocks would work in association with police.