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Teach young, old people about dangers of consuming alcohol to the extent that it places others in harms way

The ban on alcohol is also about innocent lives that could potentially be affected as a result of the state resources that are spent on alcohol-related incidents, says the writer. File Picture.

The ban on alcohol is also about innocent lives that could potentially be affected as a result of the state resources that are spent on alcohol-related incidents, says the writer. File Picture.

Published Feb 8, 2021

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Hardly a week into President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the ban on alcohol would be lifted with immediate effect, the police have made a staggering number of arrests related to motorists drinking and driving.

In Gauteng alone, the metro police have announced that 42 Johannesburg motorists have been arrested since February 1. According to the police, this “is more than double the amount of those arrested since January”.

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In the Eastern Cape, a 38-year-old ambulance driver was also caught on February 1 after he was found highly inebriated behind the wheel on the R63 outside Bisho. The driver, who was on duty at the time, was later suspended from work.

This is very much like the North West police officer who was caught drunk on video a few weeks ago. He has since been suspended and is now facing a criminal trial.

The gist of the matter is that South Africa still has a drinking problem.

It seems that the ban on alcohol is not only about avoiding a spike in the number of infections, but is also about innocent lives that could potentially be affected as a result of the state resources that are spent on alcohol-related incidents.

We cannot have a situation in which health workers who are already severely exhausted and facing major constraints at public hospitals are still expected to treat people with stab wounds from alcohol-related fights.

It is also unfair to expect members of the SAPS to tend to selfish individuals who care very little about adhering to the lockdown regulation.

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Guarding against alcohol abuse or regulating the consumption of alcohol should not solely rest with the government, but with communities too.

Parents, guardians, priests, traditional leaders and ward councillors have a moral duty to ensure they educate the young and old on the dangers of consuming alcohol to the extent that it places others in harms way.

With the reopening of schools, everyone should come to the table to ensure that no children find themselves under threat simply because a selfish driver decided to get behind the wheel of a car and drive drunk.

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We should do better as a society.

The Star

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