Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has lamented the rise in alcohol-related road incidents, following the lifting of the ban on alcohol sales.
The Minister was giving an update on the new transport regulations as part of Level 2 of the coronavirus lockdown.
He says it is unacceptable that in the past weekend alone, there have been many reports of alcohol abuse, recklessness and fatal car crashes, comparing the weekend to an Easter Weekend which normally claims many lives.
“It has been proven even though we have not given empirical evidence that when we release the statistics during the Easter holidays this year, we can link that to the present in relation to the impact of alcohol and impact of reckless driving on our roads. Now fatalities on the roads are bigger than fatalities of COVID-19 combined over a period of time, just on one weekend of Easter we bury hundreds of people in the roads so now numbers are doubling up as compared to those of COVID-19. When people were not drinking and all of that we accounted for lower fatalities in relation to road accidents driven by alcohol in just one weekend we have seen horrible scenes on the roads.”
Minister Mbalula’s media briefing:
Ban of alcohol
The Minister reiterates that the total ban of alcohol is not on the cards but restrictions could be put into place to curtail abuse of substances.
Mbalula says a bill would see drivers unable to drive with any alcohol in their system.
“The Road Traffic Amendment Bill was introduced earlier in June this year (2020) in Parliament Section 65 of the principal Act is hereby amended- ”(2) No person shall on a public road- (a) drive a vehicle.”
More airports back in business
The economy is still not fully opened, but level two of the lockdown has seen more economic activity. While uncertainty remains for thousands who lost jobs and many others expected to lose theirs, the government is pressing on with reopening even more activity. This includes more airports getting back in business.
“We are happy to announce that in addition to the 14 airports already permitted to operate, 4 more airports have been given the green light to resume operations. These are: 1. Mthatha Airport in the Eastern Cape 2. Hoedspruit Airport in Limpopo 3. Phalaborwa Airport in Limpopo and 4. Margate Airport in KwaZulu-Natal.”
While travelling locally is permitted, international borders remain closed.
Alcohol ban fake news
Earlier on Tuesday, fake news caused a rush on liquor stores across the country, after a hoax message went viral claimed that alcohol sales were about to be banned again. The government department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is concerned. Spokesperson Lungi Mtshali: