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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


More support for booze ban

The effect of alcohol consumption under Level 3 has seen an upsurge in incidents,


Amid growing signs of a countrywide disregard for mask-wearing and social distancing – associated with massive alcohol consumption – a development which has irked a cabinet minister and two premiers, a leading public health specialist has implored government to en-list services of social and behavioural specialists. Alarmed by the effect of the alcohol ban repeal under alert Lev-el 3, which has seen an upsurge in incidents of violence and accidents, Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern that some Soweto residents he visited over the weekend did not take social distance seriously. Cele’s caution came as Eastern Cape Premier Oscar…

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Amid growing signs of a countrywide disregard for mask-wearing and social distancing – associated with massive alcohol consumption – a development which has irked a cabinet minister and two premiers, a leading public health specialist has implored government to en-list services of social and behavioural specialists.

Alarmed by the effect of the alcohol ban repeal under alert Lev-el 3, which has seen an upsurge in incidents of violence and accidents, Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern that some Soweto residents he visited over the weekend did not take social distance seriously.

Cele’s caution came as Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and Gauteng Premier David Makhura have called on the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to prohibit the sale of alcohol in their provinces, due to the adverse effect it had on emergency health services.

University of Cape Town public health specialist Dr Kerrin Begg, who yesterday concurred with sentiments expressed by Cele, Mabuyane and Makhura on alcohol, said: “The challenge with alcohol is that it reduces your decision-making ability, leading to individuals making stupid choices when under the influence.”

Asked what advice the Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC) should give to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the NCCC when meeting this week, Begg said isolated incidents of non-adherence to social distancing did not portray government to have lost control, but that Ramaphosa should enlist the services of social and behavioural specialists.

“The government has made a good effort towards containing the spread of the virus,” said Begg.

“What we now need is for the government to convene a structure made up of social and behavioural experts to advise on how to deal with social behaviour.”

On what the new approach should entail, Begg said: “The country needs to change gear in its intensive new public education message – not a war message, but a social solidarity message, that says ‘we all protect each other, we are all in this together’ and that ‘my behaviour protects you and you and your behaviour protects me’.”

While high-risk metros needed stringent measures, he said there should be “a relaxation in rural areas because of being in a low-risk category”.

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