South Africans have had to deal with a far more harsh lockdown than most countries. The ban on alcohol and cigarettes has been a bitter pill to swallow. Days before the alcohol ban is due to be lifted, there is a real concern circulating about the increase in crime and hospital patients.
Putting alcohol back on the shelves could have a negative effect in areas like the Cape Flats, where an increase in violence and social drinking is expected. Many community leaders in these areas are saying they don’t need alcohol.
The deputy secretary-general of the ANC, Jessie Duarte, has voiced her opinion by saying regulations on alcohol are in need of reassessment, whether it’s with regards to the coronavirus pandemic or not.
In an opinion column penned via News24, Duarte expressed the negative effects, especially on the health system of the country. She cautioned over the expected increase in emergency cases, once alcohol is back on the shelves, as well as South Africa’s drinking problem. Our country has one of the highest per capita consumption rates in the world.
Since lockdown was implemented, hospitals have noted a significant drop in trauma cases, owed greatly to the ban on alcohol. At the same time, the ban has brought about looting in many areas as residents scrambled to get their hands on booze illegally.
In her letter, Duarte says hospitals will soon have to focus not only on patients with COVID-19 but also those who are injured due to alcohol consumption.
“Instead of assisting patients coming into our hospitals with COVID-19 complications, South African hospitals, private or public for that matter, will now also have to concentrate on the upsurge of alcohol-related injuries which are unnecessary and which can easily be prevented with appropriate measures in place, as we saw during lockdown levels four and five,” she said.
Alcohol abusers hinder social change within the country and could bring about change for the worse under Level 3, she reaffirmed.
With plans on the management of alcohol sales still in the pipeline, many have questioned why the alcohol ban has been lifted while the cigarette ban remains in place.