Makashule Gana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Makashule Gana. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Some DA members are singing a different tune regarding lifting the ban on the sale of alcohol.

While some of the party’s leaders have called for the ban to be lifted immediately‚ the DA's Gauteng MPL, Makashule Gana, expressed different views on the matter.

In a conversation with DA leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli on his podcast Makashule Unscripted on Facebook‚ Gana said the ban should not be lifted until the dire situation in hospitals is stabilised.

He proposed that the ban be lifted in September‚ saying healthcare workers would not be able to prioritise Covid-19 patients if the ban were rolled back too soon due to drunk driving accidents.

“Maybe let’s observe things until the end of the month and then possibly look at opening up at the beginning of September‚ that would be my take.

“I don’t agree that they can ban alcohol forever‚ but for the next two to three weeks‚ let’s try to have enough space for people to be attended to‚” said Gana.

Gana's statement comes just days after DA MP Dean Macpherson said the second ban on alcohol had had terrible consequences for farmers‚ farm workers and downstream businesses in the industry.

“People are losing everything because this government is not being led by science. President Ramaphosa must put his foot down‚ show leadership and unban alcohol and tobacco without further delay‚” said Macpherson.

Speaking on the cigarette ban‚ Ntuli said she has not seen any scientific studies that link smoking to Covid-19 infections.

“I haven't seen any of the links that [co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister] Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaks of ... it doesn't seem to be as disproportionate as she appears to think it is‚” said Ntuli. “She might have access to better scientists than me but from what I've seen‚ it seems to be a futile ban.”

On the alcohol ban‚ Ntuli said the government “could be more creative with it”.

“If the president is saying that alcohol predominantly causes issues at night‚ allow restaurants to at least serve it during the day so that they can make some of their money with people going for lunches ... it is killing the business and the industry.”

Ntuli‚ who was admitted to hospital in KwaZulu-Natal after testing positive for Covid-19 in July‚ said when she was in hospital she saw that the majority of the cases healthcare workers had to attend to were alcohol-related.

However‚ she also said that banning alcohol completely was not the way to go because there are many people who consume alcohol responsibly.

"[The government] could‚ at the very least‚ allow for during the day sales [in restaurants] ... even if it's just one glass instead of the whole bottle.”

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