DA chairperson of the provincial legislatures network in Gauteng, Makashule Gana, says he disagrees with the party’s stance on the lifting of the alcohol ban.
Responding to questions during his virtual talk show, named Makashule Unscripted, Gana said the situation in hospitals had not stabilised enough to allow for the lifting of the ban.
Maybe let’s observe things until the end of the month and then possibly look at opening in the beginning of September, that would be my take. I don’t agree that they can ban alcohol forever, but for the next two to three weeks, let’s try to have enough space for people to be attended, but then open it up in the beginning of September.
Gana’s comments come just two days after DA MP Dean Macpherson’s statement that the second ban on alcohol has had terrible consequences for farmers, farm workers and downstream businesses in the industry.
Macpherson was reacting to a TimesLive interview by SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) president, Dr Glenda Gray, and Professor Charles Parry that the government should start planning to lift the ban on alcohol sales.
“The DA believes that the time for these illogical and unscientific bans to continue must come to an end immediately. President [Cyril] Ramaphosa must put his foot down, show leadership and unban alcohol and tobacco without further delay,” Macpherson said.
Gana, however, said that, during his oversight visits to hospitals in the province in the past few days, he had observed that the situation had not stabilised enough.
Ramaphosa reintroduced the alcohol ban last month after alcohol-related incidents were on the increase, posing a challenge for healthcare workers in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“One issue we picked up is that, especially casualty wards, got overwhelmed to a point that, in some instances, people had to wait long to be attended to,” he said.
He also said the country needed to wait until the numbers started to go down significantly.
“For some reason, the testing had slowed down, that is something we need to follow up”.
DA leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli, who was this week’s guest on the episode, said she believed the government could be more creative with the ban.
“If the president is saying that alcohol predominantly causes issues at night, allow restaurants to serve it during the day, so that they can at least make some of their money with people going for lunches, because it is killing the business”.
Ntuli, who was admitted to hospital in KwaZulu-Natal after being infected with Covid-19, said she had seen that a majority of the cases healthcare workers had to attend to were alcohol-related. It added to their already heavy burden of work.
“I think that there is some compromise we can look into,” she said.
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