When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the reimposition of the alcohol ban on July 13 he also called out unspecified South Africans for being “careless and reckless” in the face of the accelerating Covid-19 pandemic. But we could as easily apply the same criticism to the government’s inconsistent and heavy-handed management of the crisis.

At face value the case for banning alcohol sales is strong: SA is experiencing the long-predicted surge in Covid-19 infections. The unbanning of alcohol sales after June 1 coincided with a surge in trauma unit admissions. Banning alcohol sales, the government asserts, would reduce alcohol-related trauma admissions by 3,400 in the first week alone. This would free up resources needed by Covid-19 victims...

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