The Gauteng government wants tougher measures to deal with alcohol abuse in the province even after the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is according to Gauteng Premier David Makhura who was at the launch of the Ekurhuleni Food Bank at the Springs fresh produce market on the East Rand on Tuesday.
Makhura said he was worried about people’s violent behaviour, especially they consumed alcohol.
He added, going forward, it was time his province applied strict measures to deal with people who consumed alcohol and misbehaved.
“We must find a way to deal with the negative impact of alcohol in our society. I am not saying we must ban alcohol. I am sure that there are people who drink and behave.
“They keep order and behave well. A lot of the negative impact on society due to alcohol consumption is something that we must deal with post-Covid-19.
“Post-Covid-19, we must come back to deal with this issue. I want us to continue saving lives,” Makhura said.
Since South Africa’s lockdown came into effect, several liquor stores have been looted.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng Liquor Forum, which claims to represent 20 000 liquor businesses, threatened to go to the Constitutional Court if lockdown regulations currently in effect continue to prohibit the sale of alcohol.
The forum, which gave President Cyril Ramaphosa until Tuesday to amend the regulations, said its members’ businesses were being “crippled” by the ban. It suggested businesses be allowed to operate for limited hours.
In a letter to the Presidency, written by law firm Ian Levitt Attorneys, the EFF expressed its “disagreement” with the liquor forum and asked to make representations in the matter.
The party, which cited the behaviour of alcohol consumers as concerning, said no public consultations had gone into deciding where restrictions on the sale of alcohol should be amended.
“It is not in the public interest to lift the ban at this stage,” lawyer Ian Levitt said on behalf of the red berets.
“The EFF believes that the health rights of South Africans cannot simply be sacrificed at the altar of commercial interests of the alcohol distributors,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Office of the State Attorney wrote to the forum, requesting until close of business on Friday to fully respond to its demands.
The letter indicated the government would be have a meeting this week with the National Command Council and other stakeholders on the state’s economic assistance programme.
– Additional reporting by Tshidi Madia