'Swimming in it' - Cele vows to keep enforcing booze ban, even if it makes him unpopular

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Police minister Bheki Cele has reportedly said South Africans “overdo” their consumption of alcohol.
Police minister Bheki Cele has reportedly said South Africans “overdo” their consumption of alcohol.
Adrian de Kock
  • Police Minister Bheki Cele has reportedly said South Africans "overdo" their consumption of alcohol.
  • Cele has thrown his weight behind the lockdown alcohol ban, saying it has reduced crime.
  • He has also vowed to continue the tough enforcement of the ban.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says South Africans "overdo" their alcohol consumption, and that this is just one reason why he’s enforcing the adjusted Level 3 booze ban so strictly.

Cele told the Sunday Times that would continue with the strict enforcement of the law, even if it made him unpopular with South Africans.

He has thrown his weight behind the alcohol ban on several public platforms. In April, Cele told the Portfolio Committee on Police and Select Committee on Security and Justice that the ban on alcohol sales during Levels 5 and 4 of the lockdown had "done wonders" and had reduced crime.

He has also been quoted by City Press as saying he wishes the alcohol ban could be implemented beyond lockdown.

Cele also reportedly said earlier this month that the ban had "made history" by reducing admissions to trauma units over New Year’s Eve.

On New Year’s Eve, the country's largest hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath in Soweto, reported no trauma patients on the night for the first time ever. The effects of the alcohol ban and adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations were felt among various emergency personnel teams.

Cele reportedly justified his statements, saying he did not hate alcohol, only the way South Afircans consume it. He added that South Africans "overdo it" and are "swimming in it". He said his concern lay with the way people behave after drinking, having had personal experience of friends dying due to alcohol, or losing their dignity.

- Compiled by Nicole McCain

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