Governments worldwide are trying to adapt healthcare capacity to the new challenges of the corona virus. Nobody wants to get into the situation that in the event of a large outbreak, there are not enough treatment options available. This has already been the case in Alsace and Lombardy – with fatal consequences for many patients. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has therefore already announced a comprehensive package of measures, although only 3,500 residents of his country have so far been tested positive for Covid-19. In many cities, people are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent reasons. Such and similar measures are also known from many other countries. However, one aspect is new in South Africa: the government there has banned the sale of alcohol.
So far, South Africa has been one of the countries with the highest alcohol consumption
The idea behind it: There should be fewer traffic accidents without alcohol, which also reduces the number of injuries in hospitals. Police Minister Bheki Cele also referred to another positive effect in an initial interim assessment: Violent crime has also declined sharply since the ban on sales. He therefore advocates maintaining the ban even after the crisis has ended. It shouldn’t be that easy. Because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Africa is one of the ten countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption per year. Statistically, every South African drinks thirty liters of pure alcohol a year. It is therefore questionable whether the population can actually take this consumption away without major protests. Especially since past experiences in other countries show that a sales ban is one thing. But then enforcing this is even more difficult.
The traditional Zulu beer is very popular
South Africa has also violated the new rules. So, despite numerous curfews, so-called liquor stores were looted in numerous provinces. The well-known beer brands are still available on the black market – albeit at enormous prices. There is also a local peculiarity to note. The Zulu beer Umqombothi is traditionally produced in many townships in the country. So far, the authorities have not taken any measures here, which is why the brew from corn and malt is now even more popular. In addition to the breweries and schnapps distilleries, the winegrowers in the country are particularly affected by the regulation. Especially since export abroad has now been banned. The winegrowers’ association is therefore already warning: