Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

DA backs Western Cape government's call for lifting of alcohol ban and opening up economy

By African News Agency Time of article published Aug 8, 2020

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has welcomed Western Cape premier Alan Winde and his government's resolution to engage the national government on allowing the sale of alcohol and safe reopening of all businesses.

"This is because the Western Cape government from the very onset of this (coronavirus) pandemic immediately set to work in building healthcare capacity to ensure that they would meet the demands of people requiring medical intervention," DA shadow minister of trade, industry, and competition Dean Macpherson said in a statement on Saturday.

The DA commended them on being able to do so with room to spare. Many lives had been saved due to the early and rapid response by the Western Cape government. According to Winde, data indicated that the Western Cape had passed its peak with hospital admissions falling. This was good news indeed and something to celebrate, Macpherson said.

"It is very clear that we now need to urgently turn our focus to the economic disaster that is playing itself out across the country. That is why it is critical that the alcohol ban is lifted, which is having devastating effects on jobs and the economy in the Western Cape and across the country. Farmers, farm workers, and retailers are suffering due to this illogical ban by the national government," he said.

In fact, South African Medical Research Council president Dr Glenda Gray had already stated that there was sufficient hospital space to allow for the lifting of the alcohol ban, which correlated Winde’s data.

The DA also supported the Western Cape government's view that if it was safe for businesses to open, then they should be allowed to do so. From restaurants being able to sell alcohol to tourism-related sectors, every business owner had to be given a fighting chance to stay open and protect the employment of their workers.

As Winde had outlined, tens of thousands of jobs had been lost and even more were under threat if immediate action was not taken to lift the alcohol ban and open up the economy, Macpherson said.

"The Western Cape can do so in a safe and responsible way which allows people the opportunity to rebuild their lives after suffering incredible financial hardships due to the lockdown."

This would also be consistent with the so-called "risk adjusted approach" touted by President Cyril Ramaphosa, which was supposed to allow districts and provinces to move down levels of the lockdown as the situation improved in those areas.

"The DA is fully behind premier Winde and his government's efforts and we trust that the national government will put politics aside and allow South Africans to get back to work urgently," Macpherson said.

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