'We urge President Ramaphosa not to heed the call to allow alcohol sales'
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Cape Town - The ANC says it "frowns upon" calls seeking to undermine government efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
This is in the wake of reports that some sectors of society including business owners intend to approach the courts in order to force the government to relax existing lockdown regulations, particularly in relation to liquor trading.
The Gauteng Liquor Forum has written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa telling him that government has until Tuesday to lift or amend the regulation on the total ban on the sale of alcohol or it will approach the Constitutional Court.
The forum, which represents 20,000 small businesses, said the extension of the lockdown period to April 30 2020 "will most likely ruin their businesses".
But ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said on Sunday: "The President of the Republic Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa pleaded with the entire nation to make even greater sacrifices so that our country may survive this crisis and so that tens of thousands of lives may be saved. It is incumbent upon all South Africans to really play their part in assisting the government to deal with this devastating pandemic.
"We call on the business community to take advantage of measures announced by government to mitigate against the detrimental effects of the lockdown on their operations. This includes accessing small business debt relief and business growth facilities, to which the government has allocated millions of rands. We are also encouraged by the initiative of private sector entities, including banks, which have also introduced relief measures such as payment holidays on various finance products. The current situation shows that this is indeed a moment of business unusual, across the board."
The ANC called on all South Africans to abide by the lockdown regulations as well as precautionary measures which were announced by government as part of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The government has already recorded some progress since the lockdown was effected. It is therefore imperative that we protect ourselves and defend each other as we work towards the total eradication of the Covid-19 monster."
Parliament's Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, also urged Ramaphosa to ignore calls from the Liquor Forum in Gauteng to sell liquor during the lockdown.
Dr Dhlomo said people who consume alcohol predispose themselves to become drunk. “A person who is under the influence of alcohol has a poor sense of judgement for the environment, space and time. This lockdown period does not need people who have poor sense of judgement."
Dr Dhlomo said the committee commends Ramaphosa’s call which includes banning the sale of alcohol during the lockdown period. “The President should not give those who want to sell alcohol space to do so as that might predispose them to being exposed to the pandemic unaware.”
“The lockdown is a safe way that the president has called for where the sale of alcohol is not allowed. We urge the president not to heed the call of selling alcohol during the national state of disaster,” added Dr Dhlomo.
“This is for the good of the country, for the control of the coronavirus, and the good for the control of any social ill.”