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President rejects call to lift alcohol ban

With South Africans’ best interest in mind.
Pointing out that there is a relationship between alcohol and fighting Covid-19 once infected. Image: Supplied

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lawyers has rejected calls for the lifting of the alcohol ban.

The Presidency responded to a stern letter sent to him by the Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF) lawyers, threatening to approach the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, (April 14) if he does not lift the ban on alcohol, arguing that it is “unreasonable and unconstitutional”.

The Presidency rejected its request to lift the ban on alcohol sales, noting that the decision to impose a lockdown on South Africans was not taken “lightly” and was taken after full consideration of all relevant factors and expert advice.

“The overreaching concern in our decision making is the safety and interests of all South Africans,” the Presidency wrote.

It says during the discussion held this week with the National Command Council, Cabinet and the President, relevant sectors and experts in fields including financial, social, economic, scientific and medical it found that it would not be in the best interest of South Africans to lift the already existing ban.

“Having done so, the decision was taken not to ease the restrictions on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown,” says the Presidency.

It says the decision was taken after due consideration of the issues raised by the GLF and other bodies in the liquor industry.

Make use of relief programmes provided

The GLF had raised economic concerns of its clients in the first letter which it wrote to the Presidency and it has instead been directed to seek economic relief through programs offered by Government, such as the Tourism Relief Fund, the Department of Small Business Development, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Tourism Relief Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to Small Micro and Medium- Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa.

The grant is capped at R50 000 per entity, and it can be utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items.

While the Department of Small Business Development has the Debt Relief Fund which to assist businesses which are negatively a­ffected, directly or indirectly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UIF is to pay for employees, which its employers will struggle to pay as a result of the lockdown.

“We therefore, invite you to provide us with the registration details of all your clients’ businesses so that we may attempt to assist them with determining what assistance they qualify for, and assisting them where possible with applying for the appropriate funding,”  the Presidency says.

Far from being happy

The GLF expressed its discontent this week with the available debt relief measures offered by the government.

“The fact that initiatives such as the Tourism Relief Fund are capped at R200 million in respect of the entire nationwide tourism industry means that the likelihood of receiving such assistance is even much more remote for those of our clients who are, for example, not registered taxpayers. However, they remain citizens, human beings and bearers of the constitutional rights referred to above,” the GLF says.

It says government initiatives provide no bar to seeking the relief contemplated by its clients.

“Which is not merely centred on financial loss but on the vindication of the constitutional rights at issue and curbing executive excesses of power and related unlawful and unconstitutional conduct,” the GLF says.

It adds that some members of the Forum “are also living in fear of their lives and physical security due to threats of violence in the form of looting and forceable entry threatened by people who are in desperate need of the alcoholic beverages stored and stocked in their premises and homes”.

Relationship between alcohol intoxication and Covid-19

But the Presidency pointed out that there is “a causal relationship between alcohol intoxication and abuse, and risky behaviour”.

“There are proven links between the sale and consumption of alcohol and violent crime, motor vehicle accidents and other medical emergencies at a time when all private and public resources should be preparing to receive and treat vast number of Covid-19 patients,” says the Presidency.

Professor Charles Parry director of the alcohol, tobacco and other drug research unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), says he can attest the President’s notion and therefore supports the decision not to lift the already existing ban on liquor sales, amid the pandemic.

“The President’s decision is the correct one. It is in the interests of reducing community transmission of Covid-19 and helping to limit interpersonal violence. The lungs of heavy drinkers are already compromised and limiting the availability of alcohol to such persons will also ensure a better outcome should they become infected with the coronavirus,” Parry says.

He says that based on a recently developed model, continuing the ban on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown could prevent 5 000 admissions to hospital trauma units a week.

He adds that the decision prohibiting the sale of tobacco during this period can be defended.

“Given that, as many as one-third of the population could contract Covid-19 at some point in future, and with 22% of the adult population being smokers, then reducing the availability of cigarettes will decrease the likelihood of those infected having more serious health outcomes,” Parry says.

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Fantastic stuff! Alcohol is way too easily available in South Africa and is a burden on our health care system.
Great stuff from a Great President! Another example of his fantastic leadership. South Africa is heading to Fantastic places despite the current hardship.

I love our Brilliant Citizens and our Phenomenal country! Best Nation in the world.

Read the first sentence!

Your “Leader” could not make the decision and had to get his lawyers to do so. No wonder they need day’s to mak a simple decision.

Is this who is running the country?

Zuma had the Guptas. This guy has his lawyers.

Next thing is we will get Easter road accidents to Zero. Put the whole country in solitary confinement forever. GREAT WAY TO LIVE???

Laughable.

South Africa is heading down the drain. What is so fantastic about that? Everything the ANC touched went down the drain. You really must get your head out your butt.

This incessant spewing of negativity doesn’t add an ounce of value. This is not the time for politicking, it’s a time to quit whining from our ivory middle-upper class towers and unite behind our leaders and our nation.

Take this opportunity to bury that defeatist mentality and let’s do our bit. Help your community – especially the vulnerable, support relief organizations, support your government and look after those around you. Stronger together.

I just love the smell of rioters burning rubber in the morning. Good morning Vietnam

Dadape:

Beautiful, but you needed more amazing, unbeatable adjectives, more beautiful than any other president ever. And waive your hands!

Have you noticed how the alcohol ads are targeting African Black women? They need another market. Why does activists not see this?

Read the first sentence!

Your “Leader” could not make the decision and had to get his lawyers to do so. No wonder they need day’s to mak a simple decision.

Is this who is running the country?

Zuma had the Guptas. This guy has his lawyers.

Next thing is we will get Easter road accidents to Zero. Put the whole country in solitary confinement forever. GREAT WAY TO LIVE???

Laughable.

Look, thank goodness for CR instead of having a Zoo-ma or a Ace at the helm during a time like this and yes S.A. is a beautiful country and our citizens are mostly rather (or somewhat) reasonable.
But let us not get ridiculous about something unproven as yet pertaining to its pandemic and death-rate potential.
Why then not also implement serious measures to fight the dire and proven statistics of pandemic proportions relating to issues of poor health and extreme high death rates caused by i.e. by TB, HIV, malnutrition, children neglect, SA daily murders, farm killings, deaths caused by uncontrollable high crime rate, car accidents, mining diseases, etc – all which have been with us for donkey years already?
The potential of Covid-19 pale in comparison to the long-existing social problems and the immense economical effect that is currently developing.
What will the ANC and government do after Covid-19 about these other proven and more serious killing issues? Ignore it? Claim financial inability or what?

The bigger problem, fast foods and obesity, Now what can we put in place for that?

Sugar tax, salt restrictions etc etc. Where have you been?

One more step closer to anarchy and chaos.

The president is correct in saying that alcohol and smoking both lead to health issues. But on what basis, then, will the restrictions eventually be lifted? Health issues, accidents, lung disease are not acceptable during a pandemic. And following the pandemic, these issues will now be acceptable? I am certainly not defending smoking or alcohol, but the logic of restricting them now on the basis of their very real dangers will still apply in the future.

The next two weeks…………………hope the fire brigades and the useless police are ready for the anarchy.

By that same logic, they should then also ban sugar, samosas, koeksisters, sugar and sex.

9 million South Africans are diabetic or pre-diabetic. 60 000 people died because of raised blood sugar levels in 2016. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease. It is totally preventable. The National Command Council can cure diabetes if they ban white bread.
https://www.who.int/diabetes/country-profiles/zaf_en.pdf

8 million people are living with HIV. There were 240 000 new infections in 2018. There were 71 000 AIDS-related deaths. The National Command Council can prevent AIDS from spreading if the banned sex.

We have one of the highest domestic violence rates in the world. 22 000 people died due to violence in 2018, of which 80% of cases were within the family structure. Lockdown is a death-sentence for 18 000 South Africans. The National Command Council can save 18 000 lives if they end the lockdown.

I have an issue with the ad-hoc and arbitrary solutions offered by so-called professionals who use untested models with thumb-suck data to justify the infringement on the right to freedom of choice. That so-called expert bans other form using alcohol, while according to statistics, there is a 12% probability that he is eating a doughnut while he is using his insulin medication.

I can go without alcohol and I do not smoke, but that is not the point. I am also a libertarian, an individualist, a free-market capitalist, from a Cristian background of which I am proud. There are millions like me. We have the right to determine the course of our lives. We should have the freedom of choice and the opportunity to make our own mistakes and take responsibility for it.

I do not like the idea that a socialist or populist armed with arbitrarily selected data that was generated by an unproven model implement ad-hoc rules that take away my freedom of choice.

Worst of all – who is actually in control here? The experts, the president, Luthuli House, parliament or the Constitutional Court? The president says it is the “experts”. The experts say it is the National Command Council. The National Command Council says it is the president. The dog is chasing its own tail and nobody is accountable.

1. Just remember you have to thank the ANC for giving you this freedom of speech. Pre ’92 you would have been thrown from the 10th floor of John Vorster Building in downtown joburg; or cower like most of the privilege class at the time

2. Remember we are in a war like situation. Decisions may be good or bad. Look to US and UK for bad decisions regarding the time taken to lockdown.

3. What data are you referring to? The data models are 4 months old.. All countries have a different situation so the model which may have worked for them MAY not apply to us. Prof. Abdool Karim is just a telephone call away to the head in China and Trump’s adviser (name escapes me starts with F).

Stop whining.

Have you not heard of the massive responses to HIV? Biggest in the world? Have you not heard of sugar taxes and salt restrictions? Is that not enough for you? It is a temporary ban. You will get your fix soon. Calm down.

Good point Zok. Then the politburo should ban all fatty and sugary fast foods as well, chips, the list ia endless. At least the lockdown has now shown us one thing: those of us who still vaguely hoped the government may have a sprinkling of competence somwhere have now been put out of our misery. Utterly clueless and useless sprinting the Zimbabwe way. Ramaphosa’s NEW DAWN now proving to be the beginning of the end for South Africa. Only darkness lies ahead and he will be remembered as the president who presided over our demise, not as our saviour.

Have you not heard of the permanent sugar tax? Salt restrictions? Alcohol is temporarily restricted. Calm down. You will get your fix soon.

hereshoping
I live in a fairly small town in KZN. From friday knight to sunday knight they party on the grounds next to a tourist spot, the loud music and fornification that goes on with alcohol bottles smashed all over the place. It is an absolute disgrace. Visit the grounds on a Monday morning and you really would not believe anyone could destroy a communal ground in such a manner and the police station is just up the road.

If we are going to be like Zimbabwe lets be like our other heroes as well , namely Palestine (islamic state /no booze) . They would do it but they cant live without the Tax loss !!

PROHIBITION has never worked period.

It creates massive criminal enterprises over night. Existing criminal enterprises which unfortunately include a large slice of our operational police force are beaming from ear to ear, in 24-48hrs they rapidly expanded their criminal businesses into cigarettes and booze – heretofore dominated by BAT and SAB :). The legit companies among dozens of others, where government collected vast amounts of VAT and excise duties on a daily basis – no longer pay anything. However, millions are being made daily by those connected and providing an unofficial essential service.

I am not sure about most of the readers/ posters here. But i am very much aware of a thriving black market in both liquor and cigarettes. This is in the suburbs – there are dozens of suppliers – i suppose they are called ‘dealers’ now. Running about in little innocuous Yaris or Getzs, they will arrive in these large complexes and in 30mins a 100 cartons are gone and he is back 3 hours later with more (Madisons and other brands). I am told that it is a phone call away for a couple bottles of JW Black and Smirnoff red, also crates of Castle and Heineken.

The cigarettes are selling for less than the normal around 25 a box, but alcohol 2-3 times normal. If you don’t want the guys coming to the house they will meet you at your local shoprite or woolies and meet you as you pack your boot with groceries (min order of course, after all this is a business) – quiz these guys and ask them if they are scared of the police they just laugh and say the cops ensure they get the stock they need to distribute and if they get stopped by some cop ‘not in the loop’, he will be called on the radio or his mobile from someone and he just drives away.

Do i condone breaking of the laws, of course not. But the point here, is that a lot of people will not resort to these dealers as such – but a very large portion of the populace will and are doing it daily. So what is the government achieving, those who really want to smoke and drink still are – the government is just losing billions in taxes and VAT they can certainly not afford to lose. I talk here only of the suburbs – the business in the townships in booze is booming – you cannot stop the people – in every place like Diepsloot or Alex etc etc there are no go areas for the police – the police and the criminal organisations for sure will allow the highly publicised ‘BUST’ to go down – but that is only smoke and mirrors. They are kidding themselves if they think this is achieving anything other than raising the ire of a populace that is about to explode.

Stupid rules. The damage of excess smoking does not occur in even 6 months by any stretch of the imagination. Be honest and say alcohol abuse over week- ends flood trauma units. But does that mean you can dictate to sober responsible drinkers ??? Think not
Looks like we are back to pre 1990 soon specially listening to our Minister of Police

We all understand the issues around alcohol abuse, however if you take the attitude that the entire country is untrustworthy and need government to dictate to us how to behave then you will get pushback, a far better attitude to take is we are all trustworthy and understand the gravity of alcohol abuse and allow controlled sales the sooner people will respond in like. This attitude that we are a nation of drunkards is ludicrous, and leads to antagonism because someone else now cant enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

Well done Cyril. Maybe more of our citizens should vote with their feet.

And our leaders will continue drinking JW Blue throughout I’ll bet. And ciggies will still be smuggled, to whose benefit?

And then the confusion.

They arrest or kill people for consuming alcohol at home. I even saw a guy getting arrested by the JHB mayor for going to the shop for dog food. So since when is it illegal to buy dog food?

You can put a hat, doek, uniform and even a mask these days on anything in this country and you end up with a retarded bully.

In 9gag they always say: never go full retard. Our government has done that now. Completely.

That site is for 10 year olds.

If beetroot was good for combating the HIV virus, maybe it will do the same for C-19.
Most people are coming to the end of their alcohol stocks. If more extensions to lock down are demanded then most survivors will surely be sober. This would appear enough reason to keep extending and slow down the return to a standstill.
The economy can become more economical.

End of comments.

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