- The alcohol ban and subsequent relaxation thereof has been a hotly debated issue amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- Police Minister Bheki Cele recently claimed that 34 000 hospital beds had been taken up by liquor-related incidents
- Briefly.co.za explores this claim to determine if it is based on fact or fiction
Second only to the continued ban on tobacco, the alcohol ban during the Covid-19 lockdown has been the subject of fierce debate.
Briefly.co.za reported that numerous political leaders had called for the ban to remain in place after it was lifted with the migration to Level 3 lockdown.
Police Minister Bheki Cele recently claimed that, at a time where hospitals are under immense strain, alcohol-related incidents had been filling up hospital beds.
The politician had dubbed the relaxation 'inappropriate', claiming that 34 000 hospital beds were filled due to the relaxation 'as we speak'.
AfricaCheck reports that Professor Andrew Nicol from the University of Cape Town is the man the ministerial spokesperson credited for these startling figures.
However, Nicol has since confirmed that Cele may well have overshot the estimates handed over to his department.
The UCT educator explained that he had been involved in an unpublished study tracking the effect the lockdown had on trauma admissions.
However, the study has not predicted anywhere near the 34 000 alcohol-related admissions as pointed out by the minister.
In fact, experts say they have no clue as to how Cele came to this steep figure in the first place.
Despite this exaggeration, it has been determined that crime and casualties have spiked due to the lifting of the ban. Even Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize weighed in on the issue:
"We have to consult provinces, governments and various stakeholders so this doesn't become a very simple matter. However, there may well even arise a situation where we might feel the numbers of beds are compromised by the fact that there is too much of trauma.
"The records that we have show that there has been a lot of relief when the alcohol was not being easily available."
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