WATCH: Don't 'unleash Satan' against women, kids by unbanning alcohol, urge activists

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 26, 2020

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Cape Town – Cape Flats activist Caroline Peters could at first not stop cursing when she heard President Cyril Ramphosa announce the unbanning of alcohol from June 1 – despite being a Christian. So much so, she "later had to ask God for forgiveness". 

She has since joined another Cape Flats activist, Lucinda Evans, in posting videos on Facebook urging Ramaphosa to reconsider the decision, with Peters saying "unbanning alcohol is like unleashing the wrath of Satan on the Cape Flats". 

Both Evans and Peters have for decades witnessed the gender-based violence perpetrated against women and children, even under level 5 and 4 of the lockdown. 

Unbanning alcohol, said Peters, is like "adding fuel to the fire", with Evans saying in many instances it will come down to a choice between buying alcohol or food, with women having no say in the decision affecting impoverished families. 

Several women and child rights organisations and activist groups have also decried the decision, with Peters calling for a petition against the unbanning of alcohol, while Evans wants the matter to be taken to court.

But calling for the banning of alcohol from June 1 is "like asking for pie in the sky", Peters said, "because quite frankly we haven't been listened to, we haven't been heard. I don't know if we call this democracy or what it is. Our struggle continues".

Ramaphosa, who Evans labelled "the first protector of the country", said he had consulted widely before making the decision to move the country to level 3 of the lockdown, with the trading of alcohol allowed under limited conditions.

Neither Evans or Peters believes he has consulted widely enough. 

Cape Flats activist Caroline Peters has called for a petition to get President Cyril Ramaphosa to reconsider the decision to unban alcohol from June 1 under level 3 of the lockdown. Video: Facebook

"When you spoke about the unbanning of alcohol, did you consult the NGOs that are picking up the pieces of broken family lives? Did you consult any of the women who are currently in shelters because of alcohol, because of violence, because they couldn't stay in their own homes?" Evans said.

"Mr President, did you consult the children of this country that have been living peacefully in their family home since the banning of alcohol, with the potential dad, or oupa or uncle or brother that was kalm(calm), rustig(peaceful); daar was nie wyn nie(there was no wine). With families that were rebuilding their relationships. 

"And now Mr President on 1 June, op pay dag(on payday), weet jy wie kom vir on s (do you know who will be coming to) visit, die wyn(the wine).

"The unwanted visitor wat onse kinders se harte benoud laat klop(which is causing the hearts of our children to beat anxiously). 

"We do not want the visitor back on 1 June. The money that is going to be paid on 1 June must go for food, not for alcohol."

Peters does not believe Ramaphosa consulted the trauma units of hospitals that, aside from Covid-19 cases, will have to deal with an increase in the number of victims of stabbings and beatings due to the use of alcohol. 

Evans said a decision seemingly taken in the interest of the economy does not serve the rights of women and children in the country. 

If cigarettes are deemed an "evil" in the fight against Covid-19, Peters is perplexed that Ramaphosa can't see that alcohol is a contributing factor in the violence against women and children. 

Peters fears physical distancing rules will not be maintained in situations where alcohol is a factor, because drinkers like to socialise and judgement becomes impaired.

"We are appealing to not do this to our communities. Our communities can't just have a social drink. Having alcohol unbanned will promote social gatherings. 

"Because social drinkers won't want to drink by themselves. They are going to have parties all over," said Peters.

"There will be even less money. We have seen domestic violence at its worst during lockdown (levels 5 and 4) because men were frustrated; there was no money for cigarettes and alcohol.

"Now it's going to be even worse because the habit is going to be fed again and it wants more tomorrow, and the next day and so on."

Cape Times

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