- President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the alcohol sales ban would be extended as part of adjusted level 3.
- The sales ban introduced during the festive season had had a positive impact on trauma cases, he said.
- The president did not suggest a specific date for the end of the sales ban.
The alcohol sales ban will be extended along with other restrictions as part of adjusted lockdown Level 3, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in an address to the nation on Monday evening.
Ramaphosa had reintroduced the ban on retail sales of alcohol and on-site alcohol consumption two weeks ago when the country moved from lockdown Level 1 to adjusted lockdown Level 3. These restrictions targeted social interactions - apart from banning alcohol sales it also lengthened the curfew which forced restaurants to close earlier.
Subsequently, the country's biggest beer brewer, AB InBev-owned SA Breweries (SAB) lodged an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court challenging the constitutionality of the ban. Industry players have also warned the ban would just fuel illicit liquor trade, which would come at the expense of taxes.
In his address, Ramaphosa lamented the rising Covid-19 cases, which are now beyond the 1.2-million mark.
Ramaphosa explained the ban on alcohol sales would continue because there has been a reduction in trauma cases at hospitals, particularly over the New Year period. Ramaphosa referred to a picture from Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital's trauma ward which has been circulated on social media, showing an empty ward, a first since it was established.
"This proves that alcohol does result in behaviour that causes trauma. It is vital that we continue to protect health services at a crucial time."
Land port closures
Apart from extending adjusted lockdown Level 3, Cabinet has also decided to close 20 land ports of entry until 15 February. Among these include the six busiest border posts - Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein.This is to reduce congestion and the high risk of transmission that come with the movement of people.
However, people will be allowed to move under limited circumstances- such as supporting the transfer of fuel, cargo and goods and emergency medical attention.
Under adjusted lockdown Level 3 - social interactions are targeted and most indoor and outdoor gatherings, religious gatherings, political events and traditional counsl meetings and gatheerings on sports grounds are not permitted.