Alcohol ban is good for SAPS and the health department, says Bheki Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele says the alcohol ban is good for his department. File photo.
Police minister Bheki Cele says the alcohol ban is good for his department. File photo.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Police minister Bheki Cele says while the government cannot keep the economy closed forever, the alcohol ban is good for his department.

On Tuesday, Cele told eNCA that he did not know whether the alcohol ban should continue but said the non-availability of alcohol “made history” at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

The hospital, for the first time ever, reported no trauma casualties on New Year's Eve.

“Well, I don't know. I don't make the economic laws,” said Cele. “But for the SA Police Service and the heath [department], especially at the present moment, the non-availability of alcohol made history on the 31st where nobody was admitted in the trauma centre in Baragwanath.”

Cele said the ban had made an impact on society and communities.

The booze ban was put in place just days before New Year’s Eve, when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move from lockdown level 1 back to adjusted level 3.

It is set to be reviewed on January 15, when the regulations will also be reviewed.

TimesLIVE reported that the SA liquor industry said the ban was of grave concern and called for a review as soon as possible.

The industry includes, but is not limited to, the National Liquor Traders Council, the South African Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba), the Beer Association of SA (Basa), Vinpro, the Consumer Goods Council of SA, retailers and manufacturers.

“Limitations on alcohol sales can be imposed in a less damaging manner that alleviates the impact on the health-care system, helps to mitigate transmission while still helping to preserve livelihoods,” the organisations said.

Actress Khanyi Mbau, who produces her own range of gin, was vocal about the ban this week.

“The reason that I'm raising this is because it's January, schools are about to reopen, there are families, people that work in the liquor industry who cannot go back to work, earn a living to support their families and make sure that their children go to school,” said Mbau in a video posted on Twitter.

Here is a snapshot of what others had to say:

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