“WHEN PEOPLE are drinking in groups, they let their guard down.
Their masks will go and social distancing will go. The spread will happen and we have seen it in many instances,” says Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
She said drinking of alcohol socially brought people together and discouraged them from using masks, from social distancing and sanitising.
This follows the decision to ban alcohol sales, dispensing or distribution as announced by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa on Sunday.
“More importantly when people have taken liquor, they get drunk, they engage in irresponsible behaviour, some of them become violent, they start fighting, killing each other.
“Even at home they become violent. When they get into their cars, they start driving recklessly, creating accidents.”
The announcement also saw the return of a curfew from 9pm to 4am being imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.
At the time of publishing various liquor organisations were still weighing their options on the legal route to take.
Dlamini-Zuma said though SA was number 25 in terms of population size in the world, it is now ranked 10th highest in the number of Covid-19 cases.
She said SA ranked higher in terms of the number of new cases per day. “We must do everything to protect this beautiful nation of ours.”
Alcohol-related emergency cases diverted the services of medical personnel who should be in ICU looking after people with Covid-19.
“What happens then is the ICU gets full, beds in hospital get full and people who need those beds will not have access to them. It is for that reason that the cabinet has decided we need to suspend the sale of alcohol transportation and dispensing of alcohol,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
Dlamini-Zuma said the government was not limiting people’s rights.
Taxis will now operate in 100% for short distances and 70% for long, a controversial point that did sit well with many.