South Africa previously enforced two temporary alcohol sales bans successfully. The first ban was lifted on June 1, 2020 and the second ban was enforced from July 13 to August 17, 2020. Both bans lead to significant reductions in alcohol-related hospitalizations, crime and accidents which substantially reduced the pressure on the healthcare system and emergency services during the pandemic. Over the course of the second temporary alcohol sales ban, the Western Cape province for example saw a 48% weekend and a 32% daily drop in alcohol-related trauma cases.
The latest alcohol sales ban came into effect on December 28, 2020 along with adjusted level 3 lockdown restrictions. As expected, since then trauma cases linked to alcohol fell by 47% on weekends and by 58% on weekdays in Western Cape.
The biggest reduction was recorded on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day when there was a 65% drop in trauma cases linked to alcohol compared to the same period in 2019.
The Western Cape Department of Health has confirmed the marked drop in alcohol-related trauma cases across the province in some of the biggest public medical facilities like Tygerberg, Groote Schuur and Karl Bremer hospitals.
Meanwhile a sharp decrease in the number of road accidents and fatalities has aslo been recorded in Gauteng province following the alcohol sales ban.
Despite thousands of people traveling back home after the holiday season, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metro police reported the weekend after the holidays was largely quiet on the roads, with traffic being orderly and easily manageable.
Currently we see peace on our roads especially when there is no alcohol in the picture,” said Kobeli Mokheseng, Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson, as per Sowetan Live.
We are able to manage the traffic in collaboration with other law enforcers such as SAPS, and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).”Kobeli Mokheseng, spokesperson, Ekurhuleni metro police
Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the roads had been quiet since the level 3 lockdown and the alcohol sales ban.
Mokheseng added that the ban on the sale of alcohol under the adjusted regulations of the level 3 lockdown was a major contribution to reduced traffic incidents at this time of the year as compared to the norm of previous festive seasons.
However, as expected Big Alcohol is fighting against this public health measure put in place to save South African lives. The South African Breweries said it has approached the courts on January 7, 2021 to challenge the government’s ban on the sale of alcohol.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the level 3 lockdown including the alcohol sales ban will remain in place until January 15, 2021 and will be reviewed regarding COVID-19 case load and mortality rate.
Our priority at this time however must be to save lives,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, as per EWN.Cyril Ramaphosa, President, South African
Sowetan Live: “Alcohol ban lends sanity on the roads“