CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 8, 2020/ — The Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has expressed a concern over the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol as it is permitted under level 3 lockdown regulations.
Commenting on the effects of the consumption of alcohol, Ms Ncube-Ndaba said, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), alcohol is known to be harmful to health in general and is understood to increase the risk of injury and violence, including intimate partner violence and can cause alcohol poisoning. At times of lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence.
Furthermore, the committee was concerned about alcohol abuse when the country is still faced with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In a recently published report, trauma cases at the Gauteng’s Baragwanath Hospital doubled within 24 hours after the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol.
The committee said the ban on alcohol had positive outcomes on the public healthcare system in that it significantly reduced monthly hospitalisations as a result of accidents and violence emanating from alcohol abuse.
Ms Ncube-Ndaba has acknowledged what is said about alcohol abuse, that it can be a significant factor that fuels gender-based violence, although, however, alcohol consumption is not the root cause of domestic violence. According to WHO alcohol can be a contributing factor, may increase the frequency and severity of violence and may be more likely to result in injury. Also, according to WHO the use of alcohol reduces self-control and leaves people less capable of negotiating tensions within relationships.
Ms Ncube-Ndaba said: “The report by the South Africa Medical Council (SAMC) is testament to the benefits that the lockdown has had on the public healthcare system. The ban resulted in fewer cars on the road and there have been fewer motor-vehicle accident cases attributed to alcohol abuse being reported as suggested by SAMC.”
Ms Ncube-Ndaba has called on all South Africans to be responsible as the government has eased the lockdown regulations. She said as the rate of infections is rising, it is much more important now than ever before to be responsible and to be safe.