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Alcohol bans, each one of them, were wildly successful - and utterly devastating

26 March 2021 11:19 AM

Exactly one year ago, the government banned alcohol. Hospitals emptied out, and the economy crashed and burned.

On 27 March 2020, the South African government banned the sale and transportation of alcohol in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first ban - lifted on 1 June – devastated the economy, and destroyed the livelihoods of, perhaps, millions of people.

The impact on trauma cases, however, was extreme and the goal of the ban (to free up health-resources for Covid-19) was wildly successful.

The government introduced two additional alcohol bans, with the same enormously disastrous economic impact and the same outrageously successful impact on trauma cases.

To name one glaring example; the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto – the third largest hospital in the world - had not one trauma case on 1 January, the first time since opening its doors in 1946.

© diego_cervo/123rf.com

Interesting articles from that time:


Africa Melane interviewed Professor Steve Reid, Head of the Directorate of Primary Health Care at the University of Cape Town.

[Did the ban achieve its goal?] Absolutely! Definitely! Particularly over the New Year… it had an incredible effect… There is absolutely no doubt.

Professor Steve Reid, Head of the Directorate of Primary Health Care - University of Cape Town

The prohibition of alcohol sales definitely reduces pressure…

Professor Steve Reid, Head of the Directorate of Primary Health Care - University of Cape Town

… We have to take the whole community into account… A huge number of people are employed by the industry… We need a society-wide debate…

Professor Steve Reid, Head of the Directorate of Primary Health Care - University of Cape Town

Listen to the interview in the audio below.




26 March 2021 11:19 AM

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