The ban on the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol seems to have left some South Africans in a state of frenzy.
Of interest is that fact that one of the trending topics on Twitter yesterday (Sunday) was the #AlchoholBan. Some social media users are pleading with President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the ban while some speak of how liquor is slowly eroding and destroying many communities.
The latter couldn’t be more true. Perhaps, during the lockdown, the government and communities need to self-introspect around this topic. We need to have an honest and non-emotional discussion about the existence and extensive abuse of alcohol in the country.
Police in Klerksdorp last week arrested a 49-year-old man who was found to be selling liquor from his home in Meiringspark, North West. Various types of liquor were allegedly found stored in the suspect’s backyard. It was confiscated by the police and is estimated to be worth R125 000.
The arrest was made after police received a tip-off. The suspect was given a R3 000 fine for contravening Lockdown Level Regulation 77 (1)(b) which prohibits the sale, dispensing or distribution of liquor.
In KwaZulu-Natal, a truck driver arrested after he was allegedly found transporting approximately 1 890 cases of imported beer with an estimated value of R1.9 million.
But this is not the first time many have been arrested during the lockdown for breaking the law.
While the sale of alcohol is pivotal to the country’s GDP, the emergence of Covid-19 has shown that new policies and reform around the alcohol sector is needed.
For instance, data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2019 showed that South Africa has some of the heaviest drinkers in the world.
If this tweet posted by a doctor does not sober us up, then nothing will.
“Doctors and nurses are emotionally and physically exhausted from treating Covid-19 patients. If SAB wins its battle to lift the #AlcoholBan they must come and also treat the alcohol-related trauma cases because we currently don’t have the energy to deal with two pandemics.”