To all intents and purposes, it now appears that opening up of the South African economy under Lockdown Alert Level 3 has done more harm than good to South Africa’s social fabric by unbanning alcohol sales. This on the background of widespread criminal activities that have been reported thus far since level 3 came into effect on 1 June.
Six men shot and killed
In the most recent incident, six men were shot and killed in the Jabulani Hostel area of Soweto on Monday evening. The men in blue are now looking for three men believed to be linked to the crime. Police Minister, Bheki Cele revealed that this was not an isolated incident as two women were also brutally murdered in Cape Town and Johannesburg this week. Naledi Phangindawo, (25) was allegedly heinously hacked to death by a man close to her. The suspect has since been arrested. In Soweto, on Monday, Tshegofatso Pule, (28) was found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort where she went missing on Thursday.
Nearly 30 murder cases reported daily since start of Level 3
According to Cele, more people have died nationally since the start of Level 3. “Until Monday – the 1st of June – which is not an entirely dangerous day, for the first time since the lockdown, we got reports of 40 people killed. The next day there were 51 [murders] and there were 69 this past Sunday,” he said.
Nationally, on average, Cele said the police were dealing with between 20 and 30 murder cases a day during this period. “That has now just gone up. Bear in mind that we also have to factor in the dozens of cases of attempted murder, the abuse of women and violence against women,” Cele observed.
The Minister described the murder of the two women as brutal. “It’s an issue that we raise as police and law enforcers; that [perpetrators] of crime are well known to the victims. By the look of things, both these ladies were killed by people known to them. I’m not confirming that, the investigations are ongoing,” he said.
Public outcry over unbanning of alcohol
There has been a public outcry about the unbanning of alcohol in South Africa. Many people believe that alcohol should not have been allowed to be unbanned in the first place as they argued that it is a social drink which ought to be shared.
Although social gatherings are prohibited and alcohol is only sold from Monday to Thursday for home consumption, it appears that the long hiatus of no alcohol sales since March has spurred many a South African on a dangerous behaviour curve. Drunk driving fatal car crashes have
re-emerged. Cases of domestic violence are on the rise again. Trauma units in hospitals can hardly cope with the horde of patients suffering from alcohol induced trauma. Most alarming is the rate at which the COVID-19 infections are taking place: now averaging at least 2 000 new cases daily.
Government will not ban sales of alcohol again
So bad has been alcohol-induced criminal behaviour that social media messages have been doing the rounds ‘announcing’ that the government will, again, ban the sale of alcohol until the country had the coronavirus pandemic under control. However, the government has denied these assertions.