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Alcohol “killing” contaiment of Covid-19

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The government has warned that it cannot sit idle while lives are being destroyed as a result of alcohol abuse and binge drinking.

File image. Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency

THE GOVERNMENT has warned that it cannot sit idle while lives are being destroyed as a result of alcohol abuse and binge drinking.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Government Communication Information Services (GCIS) it was pointed out that the positive progress the country had made towards containing the spread of Covid19 was being dampened by reports of alcohol abuse, recklessness and terrible vehicle crashes and fatalities on our roads.

“The recent spate of fatal accidents following the reopening of liquor sales is a cause for concern. As verified by the police, 740 suspects, including two police officers were arrested for drinking and driving,” the GCIS stated.

“A 27-year-old constable was arrested in Sedibeng on Saturday night after driving into an accident, injuring a bystander. He was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol as well as reckless and negligent driving. A sergeant was arrested in Norwood, Johannesburg on Thursday night after his car collided with a Metro police vehicle. The 37-year-old was arrested on the spot and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.”

The communication service added further that while many South Africans were responsible in their use of alcohol, government and society could not sit idle while lives were being destroyed as a result of alcohol abuse and binge drinking.

“We have noticed that some people do not abide by alert level 2 regulations which place restrictions on gathering and we urge law enforcement authorities to play their role in bringing the culprits to book.

“In the midst of a pandemic, it cannot be acceptable that health-care workers in our hospitals have to deal with high numbers of cases at the trauma units as a result of alcohol.”

The statement went on to say that while the government was committed to addressing societal issues, such as alcohol abuse and the carnage on the roads, these issues were everybody’s responsibility.

“Government calls on all South Africans to promote responsible alcohol use and road safety in the country. Government further appeals to the liquor industry to strengthen current efforts that aim to curb the scourge of alcohol abuse.

“Alcohol abuse is also often at the heart of contact crimes which include murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault resulting in grievous bodily harm, common assault, and robbery. Some families risk being totally destroyed because of the extent of alcohol abuse, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of domestic violence is associated with alcohol.”

The Government further urged law enforcement agencies to do their part through visible enforcement.

“But more importantly, we urge road users, especially drivers, to take extra care and exercise utmost vigilance on the road. We welcome the call from the Police Minister Bheki Cele for police to be tough on alcohol consumption and driving.”