The Government needs to employ a more intelligent advisory board that can think out the box rather than look at ways of demotivating and punishing the people.
Way back in the 60’s I served a couple of years in the permanent force SA Navy. My first posting was to a World War 2 vintage W-Class destroyer, the Jan van Riebeeck (I can hear Julius screaming as I type this). One of our more arduous missions rather than the normal chasing Russian trawlers out of our West coast fishing waters was a three month sojourn to accompany the replenishment ship, Tafelberg to Marion Island in the southern ocean.
Knowing we were to be a sea for a long time the Chief Petty Officer responsible for the action station in the tiller flats (that is where the gear for operating the ship’s rudder is located and is located deep aft in the bowels of the ship, a place no officers ventured). So I was ordered by the CPO to collect all the pineapple cuttings from the galley, some sugar, yeast and ginger powder. All this was placed into one of those big aluminium containers they used for transporting milk. A chain with a lock sealed the deal and off to sea we set.
A month or so into our trip the time had come to open the brew and being the most junior of the assembled handful of seaman I was tasked with unlocking the container. With some trepidation I do recall I gingerly unlocked and pulled the lock free. Well the fermentation had certainly worked and blew the lid clean off denting the bulkhead above which when considering this was a ship built of steel to withstand enemy shell, torpedoes and bombs illustrated the force the lid generated.
And that wasn’t the only kick for I still put my ability to consume huge quantities of alcohol and remain relatively sober down to my introduction of that home brew that over the coming weeks we sipped each time action stations were called as we took up our battle stations in the Tiller Flats..
This brings us to the subject of the alcohol ban so vociferously supported by our dear Minister of Police, Bheki Cele.
Reported in TheSouthAfrican “Rumour has it, that if you stand in front of a mirror holding a beer – with the lights off – and say “cheers to Bheki Cele” five times, the prohibition-crazed police minister will appear behind you and snatch your drinks. Of course, we jest… but the lockdown-enforced alcohol ban has been a shock to the system for many of us”.
“With the closure of liquor stores, taverns, pubs and clubs, thirsty South Africans have turned to traditional methods of home brewing. While the Disaster Management Act explicitly forbids the sale and movement of alcohol it does not make note of liquor brewed within the confines of one’s own home.”
Yesterday Bheke Cele made some wonderfully naive statements, no stupid statements, that only those so brainwashed by the ANC or those mentally challenged could believe.
The first, words to the effect ‘stopping sale of alcohol has reduced the number of road fatalities and cases of driving under the influence’. Really!
So now it is stopping bottle stores trading rather than the lockdown and closing pubs and taverns that has reduced drunken driving and road fatalities.
Next is his statement that violent crimes too are down because of banning sale of alcohol. Yes closing down of places where people gather and drink where fights break out. Not many murders occur on the forecourt of the bottle stores, and shebeens that sell liquor rather than serve it.
Reports of domestic violence is down, let’s give him that one but again possibly due more to the pubs and taverns being closed. People tend to drink less at home than would in a pub / tavern where buddies egg each other on with ‘another one for the road’. And had the sale of cigarettes not been banned, domestic violence probably would have been even lower for there were no doubt a few fights caused by the frustration of not having cigarettes.
But it is the loss of an opportunity that has shown the ANC’s inability to think out the box. Alcohol and cigarettes are huge contributors to the government coffers. That millions, nay billions that could have been earned to ease the burden the government now faces have been lost, never to be recovered for it is water under the bridge..
A little thinking out of the box would not only have kept those who enjoy a glass of wine with their meal or a beer after 100 laps of the garden or pool content rather than ‘pissed off’. There cannot be a reason why Tito Mboweni could not have doubled, trebled even quadrupled the sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes thus allowing the sale of but limiting quantities purely on cost but still collecting much needed income. If suddenly a glass of wine, a beer or a glass of whiskey cost R75 or more few would enjoy more one or two of an evening.
Instead banning alcohol has spurned a whole township industry that won’t be easy to stop going forward. And some of those home brews will be a lot more potent than a cheap bottle of wine.
No Mr President your advisory committee is forcing normally law abiding citizens into breaking the law. Imagine being caught with a bottle of wine in your car having borrowed from a friend. No more visiting your son or daughter and grandchildren in Australia as you would now have a criminal record. And if you refuse to pay the fine do they incarcerate you with murderers and rapists? If Cele has his way they will.