Government denies reinstating alcohol ban

Government will not reinstate the alcohol ban – at least for now.

This was according to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Mlungisi Mtshali, who was responding to public comments alluding that the ban might be reinstated.

Although Mtshali could not comment on whether the national coronavirus command council was discussing the matter or not, he said the government had not taken any decision to reinstate the ban on alcohol sales.

Comments suggesting that the government would reinstate the ban have been trending on social media platforms.

This as hospitals received a surge in trauma cases under level 3, some of which were alcohol-related.

Since the start of lockdown level 3 and the lifting of the alcohol ban, there were 18 alcohol-related deaths in Gauteng.

This was according to community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, who spoke at a Gauteng provincial command council media briefing on Covid-19 on Friday.

She said pedestrians, motorists and motorbike riders were among the fatalities.

Mazibuko urged the public not to drink and drive as she reiterated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for people to consume alcohol at their homes only.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku told the media on Friday the department was worried about the surge in trauma cases since the sale of alcohol was allowed again, possibly overwhelming state hospitals.

“There is nothing positive emanating from the sale of alcohol. We have since had a surge of numbers in our casualty units, particularly our trauma units from Monday,” he said.

Masuku said with more alcohol-related trauma cases that health facilities needed to respond to and more Covid-19 cases admitted, there might be a competition for hospital beds in the province.

On the day the ban was lifted, Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital recorded 117 trauma cases.

The cases were of gunshots, assaults and stab wounds amongst others.

ebokeng hospital recorded 95 trauma cases.

At the time of going to print, Government Communication Information System (GCIS) spokesperson Phumla Williams had not yet responded as to whether cabinet was discussing the possible reinstatement of the alcohol ban.