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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor


Ramaphosa plays political game

It is becoming apparent that not nearly enough was done in the three months of lockdown to increase levels of readiness in hospitals.


Despite the many clear hints that the government was going to reinstate some of the tougher lockdown restrictions, there were still howls of disbelief and outrage on Sunday night when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the immediate suspension of alcohol sales and deliveries and a renewed night-time curfew. The president certainly needed to do something as infections in the country’s most populous province, Gauteng, spiked and as deaths inevitably rose. Hospitals in the province are being overwhelmed by the number of patients who need care for Covid-19. Ramaphosa’s rationale in trying to choke off the booze supply once again was also…

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Despite the many clear hints that the government was going to reinstate some of the tougher lockdown restrictions, there were still howls of disbelief and outrage on Sunday night when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the immediate suspension of alcohol sales and deliveries and a renewed night-time curfew.

The president certainly needed to do something as infections in the country’s most populous province, Gauteng, spiked and as deaths inevitably rose. Hospitals in the province are being overwhelmed by the number of patients who need care for Covid-19.

Ramaphosa’s rationale in trying to choke off the booze supply once again was also backed by facts. When they drink, South Africans get out of hand; they get violent; they get reckless – and the emergency ward beds fill up with victims of rapes, assault and car crashes.

Every week a ban on alcohol sales stays in place means hundreds, if not thousands, of beds in hospitals can be freed up for Covid-19 patients. That is the undeniable reality. In the first lockdown, emergency admissions declined markedly.

So, why is there anger out there? Firstly, the harsh measures seem to imply that alcohol is the only reason why our hospitals cannot cope. It is a large part of the problem, but so is the fact that the state medical system is a shambles. It is also becoming apparent that not nearly enough was done in the three months of lockdown to increase levels of readiness in hospitals.

At the same time, if the government is genuinely concerned about spiralling infection levels, why does it capitulate to the thuggish taxi industry and allow it to continue to full their vehicles to 100% capacity? Deflect and blame others but don’t annoy powerful lobbies.

That, in essence, was the essence of Ramaphosa’s message to the nation. It’s all about politics, an even more destructive virus.

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