Alcohol is a violent spirit

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Alcohol abuse has been blamed for the escalating number of domestic violence attacks on women and children in KwaZulu-Natal, especially during the festive season.

Several cold-blooded and gruesome killings have been reported, most of which took place because the alleged perpetrators were intoxicated.

According to statistics revealed by hospitals in the province, more killings and violent cases were reported in and around Durban.

MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele said while general crime incidents in the province had decreased drastically over the festive season, he was concerned about the sudden increase in domestic violence.

"Prevention of such incidents is very difficult. They, however, remain the worst acts of crime and their widespread occurrence is worrying," Cele said.

He said it was important for stakeholders including psychologists, religious leaders and NGOs to work together with community policing forums to try to stop these forms of violence.

"It is difficult for police to control domestic violence. We need to work with all stakeholders to create awareness around this issue. People can also use local organisations to talk about their domestic problems," Cele said.

Medical staff at Addington Hospital on Durban's beach-front battled to cope with more than 2800 trauma patients since the beginning of the holiday season.

These casualties included 606 assaults, 28 gunshot wounds, 312 stabbings, 75 rapes while the rest were from road accidents.

Most of the these cases were attributed to alcohol abuse.

Health Minister Manto Tshaba- lala-Msimang has indicated that her department will launch a health lifestyle programme next month to educate the public about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

The programmes will be launched at Addington and King Edward VIII hospitals, Durban.

l Meanwhile, in Pietermaritzburg, a ten year-old boy was shot dead by his father when he tried to intervene in a fight between his parents. His mother was also shot and is recovering in hospital.

Last week a 23-year-old Pietermaritzburg man was arrested for the murder of his father. The suspect was allegedly drunk when he had an argument with his father.

During the argument the suspect had allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed his father to death.

A stepfather went on a shooting spree in Inanda near Durban, fatally wounding his wife, mother- in-law and a family member while his stepdaughter and two others, including a six-month-old baby boy, were hospitalised.