On Sunday evening, 12 July, the income of hundreds of South Africans was mercilessly ripped from the chest of an economy already in its death throws. President Ramaphosa, with his reintroduction of the alcohol prohibition, effectively placed the future of thousands of South African Breweries employees and retailer store owners and their staff, in peril.
Bulletin spoke to two owners of local liquor stores who both expressed concern over not only their own livelihood, but that of their staff.
A source has told Bulletin that SA Breweries local branch has already lost six people to retrenchment with more expected. Nationally the brewer has said the ban will place considerable strain on its operations which resulted in the destruction of millions of litres of product during the first round of the prohibition.
Ramaphosa blamed his citizens for this ban, claiming that the ban was re-instituted because of the sharp increase in alcohol-related accidents and injuries which has added strain to the health care system. This despite in the same breath announcing that his government has procured an extra 28 000 beds for Covid-19 patients and over 37 000 quarantine beds were ready for the expected tsunami of infections. He also boasted that 1 700 ventilators had been sourced with a further 12 000 being produced by South African companies.
South Africa’s state of disaster has been extended once more until the 15th of August and with it, some new regulations to “curb the spread of the disease”. The regulations include the implementation of an Apartheid-style curfew from 21:00 to 04:00 where you will require a permit if stopped by patrolling police to prove that you have a valid reason to be out during the restricted time frame.
You will not be allowed to visit your family, but you will be allowed to go out to restaurants and casinos with strangers in a fully loaded taxi – provided the windows are kept open. Ramaphosa said that taxis who conduct long distance commutes will be permitted 70% load capacity while taxis who operate locally will be permitted to operate at full capacity if the windows of the taxi are kept open. This despite it currently being in the middle of winter.
Surprisingly, he announced that ministers and deputy ministers will be dispatched to districts around the country to ensure that local municipalities receive the necessary backup to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
This statement proved the DA’s claims of a “District Political Champion” programme and that potential move by the ANC to establish district command councils which could lead to the eradication of local elections. “This will essentially make the ANC election-proof should they succeed,” said Cilliers Brink, the DA MP who uncovered the controversial SA Economic Recovery Plan for Municipalities manuscript which was marked “Top Secret”.