Despite the drop in infections and deaths from COVID-19, there are rumours that five ANC ministers are calling for another alcohol ban, citing drunken driving-related accidents as a major problem.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims it has learned from reliable sources that ministers within the ANC are lobbying for another ban as soon as possible.
DA’s Trade, Industry and Competition Minister, Dean Macpherson said the group included Police Minister Bheki Cele, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Cooperative Government Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“We are also seeing pressure from the Gauteng public health department claiming that hospitals are experiencing stress from alcohol-related trauma, even though COVID-19 infections and deaths have dropped. These accidents and loss of life were tragic, but shouldn’t be used to promote political ideology as we thought,” said McPherson.
McPherson says this is the wrong story because hospitals in the ANC-run province are running out of beds, even under the best of circumstances, because of chronic shortages and corruption.
McPherson warned that DA would oppose any attempt to implement another ban to combat their own political ideology, saying people lost their jobs because the ANC fought alcohol and the President refused to see criticism.
McPherson said Mbalula’s statement that people had lost control of alcohol is prompting the ban, while Minister Cele threatened bans and punishments and expressed her vehement rejection of alcohol.
“It is important that President Ramaphosa assures the people of South Africa that he will not take into account the political pressure from his ministers to reimpose a new alcohol ban. Otherwise, this speculation will not go unchallenged.”
Instead, said McPherson, the ANC must work to revive Liquor Amendment Bill that has been gathering dust for four years. Although the bill is imperfect, lawmakers will tackle issues such as access to alcohol for minors, and provinces can levy taxes on sales to fund cost recovery models.