Government is not aiming to limit individual citizens rights, but is instead trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus, says minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma said that the decision to promote ‘collective safety’ and limit social movement was the key reason why the government has decided to reintroduce stricter lockdown restrictions in the country.
Speaking in a media briefing on Monday (13 July), Dlamini-Zuma said that this was specifically the case for the continued ban on social visits and the introduction on the ban on the sale of alcohol.
“We have seen it in many instances. The way alcohol brings people together, it discourages people from wearing masks, social distancing, and sanitising,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
“When people have taken liquor, they get drunk – some become violent, start fighting, killing each other, or even at home they become violent.”
According to directives published on Sunday, the sale, dispensing and distribution of liquor is again prohibited with immediate effect.
The transportation of liquor is also prohibited, while no special or events liquor licenses may be considered for approval during the duration of the national state of disaster.
“We have reintroduced the prohibition on the sale, transportation and dispensing of alcohol, because the risks associated with alcohol are far too high and we must limit the pressures on our health care system.
“We must all work together to protect one another. No one is safe until we are all safe,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
Dlamini-Zuma explained that a similar decision process was used for the reintroduction of an evening curfew across the country, as well as stricter rules around the wearing of masks.
“Social distancing still remains important and it is also all of our responsibilities, not just one person’s responsibility that social distancing is kept.”
“We should avoid activities that lend themselves to not keeping to those responsibilities, that is why social gatherings are still not allowed,” she said.
According to the directive published on Sunday, every person is confined to his or her place of residence from 21h00 until 04h00 daily, except where a person has been granted a permit.
The minister clarified that social visits are also not allowed except in exceptional cases such as medical emergencies.
Inter-provincial travel also remains prohibited and hotels and accommodation facilities may only be used for business purposes.
Many South Africans are failing to wear face masks in crowded spaces, attending large public gatherings and having “drinking sprees,” in violation of government regulations, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday in a national address.
Their actions are examples of “recklessness” at a time when the number of virus cases is nearing a peak, he said.
“It is concerning that many are downplaying the seriousness of this virus,” Ramaphosa said. “We are in the midst of a deadly pandemic and we must act accordingly. We must all be responsible. The truth is we are not helpless in the face of this storm.”
Coronavirus infections in South Africa have surged since lockdown restrictions were eased last month to allow millions of people to return to work, with 276,242 cases and 4,079 deaths confirmed by Sunday, a quarter of them in the past week.
The government expects the disease to peak by the end of September and intensive-care units in all nine provinces to run out of beds.