Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says SA’s drinking laws do not work, but banning alcohol is not an option.
Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing on Monday after the deaths of three Tshwane metro police constables while on duty on Sunday.
They were killed in a collision with a suspected drunk driver.
Here are five takes from Mbalula’s briefing.
No ban on booze
Mbalula reiterated that SA has a problem with alcohol but cannot afford a ban.
“We are a country that cannot ban alcohol. We have to allow alcohol to be sold, but we must have strong regulations. Like in other countries, they take your licence away if you are intoxicated behind the wheel.”
He said SA needs to address the “over-consumption” of alcohol before it is too late.
“It continues to kill our people on roads and everywhere. We must now put our heads together. When government acts, nobody is going to say it is unfair.”
Mbalula said amended regulations will ensure that drunk driving will result in imprisonment.
“When Covid-19 arrived, we were in the process of implementing the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill which the president has signed into an act. I was also in parliament to amend the regulations to ensure you are now going to be arrested if you are found to be driving after drinking alcohol.”
It is the responsibility of the alcohol consumer to not put other lives in danger, said Mbalula.
“While the alcohol ban has been lifted under lockdown level 2, it still remains the responsibility of those who consume alcohol to do so without putting themselves and those around them in danger.”
Lives cut short
He urged South Africans to be aware of their actions when consuming alcohol.
“The lives of three young officers were cut short by a man who chose to drink and act irresponsibly. If alcohol was consumed at home as per government’s directive, the loss of lives could have been avoided.”