Mandela family urges alcohol ban after tavern deaths

The family of South Africa’s late leader, Nelson Mandela, has called for all community taverns to closeand alcohol to be banned, following the deaths of 21 teenagers in one such venue which have shocked the country.

Alcohol was “a source of great concern for parents who were justifiably worried with the scourge of sexual offences against women, including infants, toddlers, young girls and even abogogo (elders),” said Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, who is Nelson Mandela’s grandson and who spoke on behalf of the Royal House of Mandela on Tuesday.

Times Live quoted him as saying it was “farcical” to try to defend taverns for economic reasons “in light of the innocent lives lost” at the Enyobeni Tavern in East London.

South Africa’s liquor board has said the owners of the night venue would face criminal charges after allegedly breaching licensing agreements.

The ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa has emptied hospital beds, ruined businesses, provoked violence and political disputes, and has led to a surge of interest in pineapples, wrote the BBC’s Andrew Harding from Johannesburg.

The idea was simple.

Ban all booze, and you’ll prevent drunken fights, reduce domestic violence, stop drunk driving, and eliminate the weekend binge-drinking so prevalent across South Africa. Police, medics and analysts estimated – conservatively – that alcohol was involved in, or responsible for, at least 40 per cent of all emergency hospital admissions.

In normal times, some 34,000 trauma cases arrived at emergency departments in South Africa every week.

But since the nationwide lockdown came into force last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, that figure has plummeted, dramatically, by roughly two thirds, to about 12,000 admissions.

“It’s a significant impact,” said Professor Charles Parry, with some understatement.

He has been modelling the extent to which the alcohol ban has been responsible for the decline in those numbers for South Africa’s Medical Research Council.

“If we end the prohibition on alcohol sales, we’re going to see about 5,000 alcohol admissions in trauma units coming back into the system (each week),” he predicted. -BBC

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