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Gauteng to decide 'in next few days' on call to reinstate alcohol ban

12 June 2020 - 20:19 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Gauteng premier David Makhura says the province will soon make a decision on reinstating the ban on alcohol.
Gauteng premier David Makhura says the province will soon make a decision on reinstating the ban on alcohol.

Gauteng premier David Makhura says a decision will be taken “in the next few days” on whether the province will lobby the national government to consider reinstating a ban on the sale of alcohol.

“The impact of it [alcohol] is something we can see. Some of the wards, especially in the trauma units that were empty ... are filling up,” he said during a briefing on the pandemic on Friday.

“When the discussion takes place at the national command council, there is no doubt we will share the experience of the Eastern Cape. We will say we are deeply concerned about this,” he said.

“We are deeply concerned about this. We have not yet come to a decision that says alcohol should be completely banned. We are basically dealing with the effects of it. We will reflect fully.”

He said health MEC Bandile Masuku was compiling weekly reports on the impact that alcohol was having on health care facilities — treating trauma cases associated with liquor. The results would guide a decision by the province on the way forward.

“We would like to approach the matter from the point of view of evidence. We don't want to have an emotional relationship with this in a debate.

“We want to be able to demonstrate whatever decision has to be made. If we say that currently the results of what we are seeing is that there is more violence, motor vehicle accidents that are associated with alcohol will come to that conclusion ... We have not yet made that decision,” said Makhura.

He said they would finalise their decision on the matter in the next few days.

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane earlier this week called for a clampdown on the sale of alcohol for similar reasons — until the province had reached level 1 of the lockdown restrictions. His call was supported by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA.

Makhura said the province was in need of additional support as infections increased.

“As Gauteng province, we are inviting additional support or reinforcement. We have been working closely with the national department of health and the president.”

Makhura said the province also needed the “high calibre” teams deployed in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

“We are ready to receive support. We have 15.2 million we look after. When we go to the next phase of the pandemic, we will have more people who need support. We don’t want to wait until we reach the point that the Western Cape has reached,” Makhura said

He urged communities to observe all the “non-pharmaceutical” measures including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.