Is An Alcohol Ban On The Cards Again?

Now that the third wave of Covid is happening already in some provinces and many expect it to get worse, there are now calls from citizens to have stricter measures in place.

We remember the alcohol ban? The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa) is now calling for Government to reinstate strict restrictions on alcohol so that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed as cases increase.

In a statement released by Saapa, the Director said:

We have seen the additional burden on the healthcare system caused by trauma cases related to harmful drinking, through car crashes, incidents of interpersonal violence and gender-based violence. Also, when people consume alcohol, their ability to adhere to Covid-19 protocols – wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing hands – can be diminished and contribute to the spreading of the virus.

Saapa is also calling on government to temporarily impose rules which involve zero breath and blood concentration for drivers during the State of Disaster.

Additionally, Saapa is calling for the following:

  • Banning all special offers for reduced price alcoholic beverages
  • Banning all alcohol advertising
  • Prohibiting major alcohol-fuelled party events
  • Reduce gathering numbers
  • Extending the curfew from midnight to 10pm
  • Reducing off-consumption operating hours

The last alcohol ban hit the liquor industry hard with many petitioning for it to come to an end or for it to be lightened, which took place.

Lucky Nitmane, convenor of the National Liquor Traders Council, said:

We were taken aback by the statement from Saapa. Precisely because we were under the impression that we were working on a social compact with government agencies or any interested party that wants to see alcohol issues.

Nitmane called the alcohol ban "unjust" and "unconstitutional".

He went on to say that the Council shared the same sentiments with Saapa when it comes to ensuring that they have an environment which advocates for the responsible usage of article.

The alcohol industry saw many job losses during the previous alcohol ban with Nitmane saying many are still trying to find their feet again.

It was an unfortunate statement. We feel that Saapa really behaved in a way that is not really helping as we are all embarking on an effort to ensure that we support government's efforts in ensuring that we fight Covid-19 together.

"We will not participate in any ban that does not take into consideration our issues that we have relayed to government multiple times," said the Convener.

There has been no official word from government as to whether an alcohol ban will be reinstated.

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