Johannesburg – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has called on South Africans to reprimand each other over deviant behaviour as the national government tightens Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
Dlamini Zuma was leading the briefing of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) which updated the public on the latest amendments to regulations as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.
On Sunday night Dlamini Zuma immediately gazetted the amended regulations which included ban on the sale of alcohol and the reintroduction of a night curfew.
While many South Africans condemned the indefinite ban on liquor sales, Dlamini Zuma said people knew that group alcohol consumers let their guard down and helped spread the disease which has now infected 276 242 and killed 4079 people to date.
“The way drinking socially brings people together, it discourages people from using masks, social distancing, and sanitizing. But more importantly, when people have taken liquor they get drunk and indulge in irresponsible behaviour. Some of them become violent and start fighting and killing each other and drive recklessly causing accidents,” she said.
Ramaphosa lamented that some South Africans continued to defy imposed Covid-19 regulations which compromised and undermined SA’s fight against the virus.
Dlamini Zuma said the ban would ease the trauma and emergency units at hospitals as there would be less people injured as a result of alcohol-related incidents.
“They are now taking space that should be used to look after people who have Covid-19. Some of them may need theatre, ICU beds and ventilators and taking away from those who need it for Covid-19. They also take away the medical personnel who should be looking after people who have Covid-19 and other illnesses,” she said.
She reiterated that family visits were also banned alongside other social gatherings and that penalties would be administered to those who failed to wear mandatory face masks in public.
Dlamini Zuma pointed out that while SA was the 25th in the world in terms of population size, it was among the top ten in terms of infections with daily cases that were higher than many countries, which she said warranted more stringent measures to save the country from the pandemic.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola insisted that the restrictive measures taken by the NCCC, including those that were already being contested in court, were rational and based on evidence of experts who advised the government.