- The EFF wants to keep the alcohol ban in place
- A number of liquor bodies and forums want President Ramaphosa to reinstate the sale of alcohol
- The EFF argues that only positives have come out of the ban on the sale of liquor
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The Economic Freedom Front (EFF) want to keep the alcohol ban in place for as long as lockdown is in place. They claim that there is no scientific reason for lifting the alcohol ban now.
The Beer Association of South Africa and other liquor bodies have appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the ban.
Briefly.co.za learned that the Gauteng Liquor Forum, which represents about 20 000 businesses, says that it is willing to take the matter to court if the restrictions aren't lifted.
In a statement issued on the situation, the forum claims that the rules are unreasonable and unconstitutional:
"It is exactly the prohibition on the selling of alcohol by our clients during the lockdown period which is at the epicentre of the present challenge by our clients."
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However, the EFF has taken a different stance. They believe that alcohol is not essential and that the sale of liquor would threaten the effectiveness of the lockdown as people would gather and place an unnecessary strain on the resources of the country.
EFF spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya has said that the alcohol ban has more positive effects than negative, according to the SABC.
“Alcohol abuse in SA plays a central role in destructive social behaviour and violent crime. Statistics show that comparatively violent crimes have decreased during this period when mirrored with the same period in 2019.
“It will lead to a rise of people not adhering to lockdown regulations and impromptu gatherings that will stretch our law enforcement agencies thin. The likelihood of infection will rise, putting all of us and our fragile healthcare system at risk.”
Briefly.co.za reported that Minister Bheki Cele had stood firm in the face of immense criticism and refused to budge on the matter.
Cele had slammed those concerned over alcohol during the coronavirus crisis for not taking the matter seriously:
"Those people are the people who don't understand, the people who are not serious in life. It is a question of life and death. There are many other things, the economy itself we agree is suffering at a broader level, people are losing jobs, there will be liquidations. Alcohol cannot be the centre of complaints when you are facing such a serious problem."
Meanwhile, Cele says the consequences for those caught selling liquor during this time has been escalated.
The minister says that, in addition to alcohol being confiscated and citizens arrested, officers will be destroying the infrastructure as well.
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