Despite government insisting there was no truth to a voice message doing the rounds on social media that the ban on the sale of alcohol would be reinstated, some Joburg consumers on Tuesday said that they did not trust government.
Scores of shoppers flocked to their nearest liquor outlets to buy liquor after rumours that the prohibition on booze would return.
Several weeks ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ban on the sale of cigarettes would be lifted, with South Africans only to be told a few days later that sales would still not be allowed.
The widely-shared voice note claiming that the government was going to reimpose the ban on alcohol sales left drinkers in a state of panic and mistrust.
“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’d rather be prepared just in case they impose the ban again,” said one shopper.
Another shopper said: “I heard about it and I believe it. I just hope they don’t reimpose the ban on alcohol sales”.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs dismissed the rumours as misinformation, however, following its U-turn on the ban on tobacco products, consumers were making sure that they did not run dry.
REINSTATEMENT OF ALCOHOL SALES BAN
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape government has formally requested a lockdown ban on the sale of alcohol be reinstated.
Besides being a threat to the healthcare system’s COVID-19 response, officials cited a surge in violent crime as a reason why the sale of liquor should be prohibited.
The Eastern Cape has the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections with 12.5% of South Africa’s cases.
A report released by the Eastern Cape COVID-19 command council showed that from 1 June to 7 June, 94 murder cases were recorded in the province.
There were also 42 attempted murders, 354 assaults and 77 rapes.
The premier’s spokesperson, Mvusi Sicwetsha, said that reinstating the alcohol ban would help reduce infections as well as protect people’s lives.
Officials said that serious crimes committed last week could be directly or indirectly linked to the abuse of liquor.