Traditional leaders warned over deadly home-made alcohol, DA bemoans ’economically crippling’ ban
Cape Town – The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) on Friday again called on all traditional leaders to help put a stop to the brewing and sale of home-made alcohol.
This as the DA called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government to end the economically crippling alcohol ban with immediate effect.
While the DA is concerned about 165 000 people having lost their jobs due to successive alcohol bans, Contralesa said it had learnt of at least four deaths linked to traditional beer.
Three days ago, Contralesa had already expressed concern over some home-made brews containing methylated spirits, paraffin, yeast, disprin tablets and even match sticks.
The organisation’s president, Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena said: “Contralesa learnt with shock and dismay the passing on of no less than four people after drinking home-made beer. It was mixed with some foreign and poisonous substance.”
Mokoena said they have also received complaints about the sale of home-brewed alcohol in some areas under traditional leadership.
The DA said in a statement it is abundantly clear that this ill-thought alcohol ban is having devastating economic consequences for South Africa, with South African Breweries (SAB) on Friday cancelling another investment of R2.5 billion, along with their earlier cancelled investment of R2.5 billion, all as a direct result of the ban on alcohol sales.
The government has extended the ban on the sale of alcohol in order to alleviate pressure on the overburdened health system, which is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The DA said: ’’In a country that has record unemployment, it is unthinkable that we are forcing people not to work because the government failed in every respect to use the initial lockdown in March 2020 to build extra hospital capacity.
’’South Africans are paying with their lives and their jobs because President Ramaphosa and his ministers have not done what they promised us they would do.
’’For how much longer do wine farmers, craft gin and beer brewers, restaurants and so many other people and industries that rely on the alcohol industry have to suffer because of this governments incompetencies?
’’To make matters even worse, there is zero financial support for these businesses because government chooses to bail out Eskom and SAA over our businesses.
’’The time has come for President Ramaphosa to show leadership over this unfolding economic crisis, solely created by him.
’’South Africa has already lost billions of Rands in revenue during the last two alcohol bans which contributes to funding hospitals, nurses and doctors. Surely we can’t afford to starve out country of any more revenue?
’’Liquor legislation has been sitting with the President Ramaphosa and Parliament for the last six years. The DA has made progressive and sensible comments and proposed workable solutions to combat alcohol abuse directly to the Department of Trade and Industry.
“However, the cabinet and the president are found wanting when it comes to expediting this legislation. Their concerns of the harms of liquor ring hallow when the facts from Parliament paint a different story.
’’It’s time to end the ban, get MPs back to work to finalise liquor legislation and to increase hospital capacity as we have been promised.’’