Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday said if it was up to him, the ban on the sale of alcohol would still be in place.
The minister said there had been a dramatic spike in the murder rate since the country moved to alert level 3 of the national lockdown.
Cele said the lifting of the ban on alcohol sales had also had a negative effect on the country’s health sector. He said he was concerned about the sudden spike in the murder rate.
“Until 1 June, we would have had about 32 people dying. But on the first day of alcohol sales being allowed, we lost 40 people, the second day we lost 51 people, and last Friday we lost 69 people,” he said.
The minister said more needed to be done to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol before COVID-19 infections peaked in the country.
“Doctors are saying their systems are beginning to be clogged. The hospital beds that were available for ICU are now occupied by people who have been shot due to alcohol-related incidents,” Cele said.
Cele called on those who sold and drank alcohol to be considerate of others, saying that behaving irresponsibly could cost the state a lot of money and lead to a loss of lives.