South Africa’s alcohol prohibition for the coronavirus has not gone particularly well as looters have broken into stores to grab their hooch amid the global pandemic.
According to the South African, the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (SAAPA SA) gave their reasons as to why the 21-day ban was imposed:
The use of liquor “reduces a person’s ability to exercise the social distancing and personal hygiene required” to limit the spread of the virus from person to person.
COVID-19 is most dangerous for people who do not have strong immune systems. Many of these citizens live in South Africa, and “the consumption liquor affects the immune system” – making one more vulnerable to the illness.
Prohibition limits the possibility of an increase in incidents of domestic violence. Should “cabin fever” set in, alcohol has the potential to fuel and escalate these unfortunate situations.
Liquor control measures will play an important part in “breaking the coronavirus chain”.
The alcohol ban can dramatically reduce stress for our emergency services too.
Since regulations limiting the operating hours of liquor outlets were enforced, there have been a number of reports from community police forums and police stations indicating “a dramatic decrease in such liquor-related problems”.
UK Conservative pundit, Katie Hopkins, tweeted a video of a store in the process of being looted, writing: “This is South Africa. Mass looting of liquor and food stores. Schools torched. Civil unrest My question: how far away are the hardest hit parts of NYC or London from this? We need a way out.”
This is South Africa. Mass looting of liquor and food stores. Schools torched. Civil unrest
My question: how far away are the hardest hit parts of NYC or London from this?
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 9, 2020
Reports of other incidents involving looting and burning have emerged from other parts of the country.
In another piece the South African reported on a 33-year-old suspect who was arrested following the incident:
Videos have circulated on social media showing an excited crowd of people trying to gain access to a liquor store. A security guard attempts to stop the looters, but many got away with goods from the Shoprite Liquor Shop at the Langa Mall.
Police would not name the suspect but revealed that he was a 33-year-old male residing in Langa.
— Jodi Allemeier (@urbanjodi) April 5, 2020
Other stores across Cape Town were also hit as the country struggles to enforce social distancing.
— Sisonke Mlamla (@SISONKE_MD) April 9, 2020
In light of the recent lootings, Police Minister Bheki Cele said: “It is a known thing that alcohol is part of the crime generators … [When it comes to] most people who are murdered or sexually abused, it usually starts on Thursday until the end of the weekend [and] those people will be found at alcohol outlets.”
Another liquor store looting. This time in Avonwood in Cape Town.
The booze is done so now they target liquor stores. When the food is done…pic.twitter.com/noVqCPBKcn
— Suidlanders (@suidlanders) April 9, 2020
Commenters on social media expressed their discontent at the scenes emerging from South Africa while noting that their expectations from the ban were confirmed.