SAAPA SA demands ban on public alcohol consumption during the holidays

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According to Eyewitness News, the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (SAAPA SA) announced on Wednesday that it is calling for stricter measures on the consumption of alcohol, since one cannot control the public’s intake of the substance.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 infections in South Africa, the group especially wants tighter restrictions on public drinking during the festive period.

SAAPA SA is asking for the government to enforce a 0% alcohol rate for drivers, while drunk drivers should have a three-month suspension of the license, reports the publication.

“It’s not to say people cannot drink throughout the festive period, but simply to say even on those particular days, the later on people go drinking into the night, the more the likelihood is of problems arising and particularly violence,” said Director Maurice Smithers.

The publication states that because President Cyril Ramaphosa has been in meetings with national command council and premiers, an announcement could possibly be on the way.

The group’s letter of demands is said to be handed in to the government before President Ramaphosa makes an announcement.

“We want the department to remember that the problems of alcohol in South Africa didn’t start with COVID,” said Smithers. “They’ve been foregrounded by COVID, they’ve been highlighted by COVID, but they’ve been here for a long time and it is important [that] we deal with them going forward, especially to be dealing with disaster situations like this.”