Ramaphosa urges South Africans to drink responsibly

05 June 2020 - 20:45 By ERNEST MABUZA
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to drink responsibly, now that the sale of alcohol has been allowed under level 3 of the lockdown.

Addressing the media after meeting Western Cape premier Alan Winde and other officials on Friday, Ramaphosa said it was always going to be difficult and risky for the government to lift the ban on alcohol sales.

He said SA's alcohol consumption was one of the highest in the world.

“During the time of level 5 and 4, we saw alcohol consumption had gone down, and drunken driving accidents had almost come to a stop -there were none — and hospital beds had become empty of patients with trauma.

“As we opened, we suddenly saw a spike in the utilisation of hospital beds. It was always going to be a risk. We are not contemplating closing for alcohol as yet.”

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to behave in a manner that takes into account the rights of other people to health and also to health care.

“When you are at war, many activities of a pleasant nature come to a halt. We would like to see that also happening around the utilisation of alcohol, that people should drink responsibly.”

Meanwhile, the ANC Women's League said it rejects the unbanning of the sale of alcohol, while the country is still under the national state of disaster.

“Alcohol is one of the major contributors to gender-based violence in SA, this situation is exacerbated because the alcohol must be consumed at home.

“Many women have suffered abuse in the hands of intoxicated partners, the unbanning of alcohol is effectively a death sentence for women and children who share households with abusive drunkards.”