Article by Khanyi Moshia
Police minister Bheki Cele has placed alcohol at the centre of the country’s high crime rate. In an interview with City Press last week, he mentioned that there’d been a significant drop in the number of violent crimes reported since the lockdown commenced on the 27th of March 2020.
Cele has made it clear that the regulations prohibiting the drinking and sale of alcohol during the lockdown will not be relaxed, and mentioned that he wished these regulations were extended beyond the national lockdown.
Cele isn’t the only minister who believes that reducing the consumption of alcohol will be the first step towards the right direction for the country. Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi has shared his wishes for an alcohol-free South Africa.
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) March 21, 2020
“My first prize would be that we shut down alcohol, but I know we cannot do that. Nothing tells me that taking alcohol will make life easier,” he said.
Unfortunately, the SA Drug Policy initiative doesn’t agree with the minister, as they request the banning of alcohol and tobacco sales during the lockdown to be reversed. The organisation believes these restrictions are discriminatory towards the poor, and they’re putting addicts’ health at risk.
Cele also added that murder and the number of cash-in-transit heists have reduced significantly due to the countrywide roadblocks and increased police visibility.
The minister also commented on the concerns regarding police brutality by saying the police have abided by the President’s directive to behave in an empathetic manner, but the Criminal Procedure Act allows police officials to use force if they’re attacked or feel threatened by members of the public.
Lastly, Cele urges all South Africans to abide by the law and stay at home unless they’re essential services workers or they’re getting their essentials at grocery stores or pharmacies.
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