Police Minister Bheki Cele spoke last week of the recent spike of incidents of murder, attributing this in part to the lifting of the alcohol ban since the onset of the Level 3 regulations, noting that he would prefer if the ban on alcohol had not been lifted.

The Minister also addressed issues surrounding police brutality, rape and domestic violence.

Rumours went out last week about alcohol being banned, and the Government is apparently revisiting questions of reinstating the ban on alcohol.

It is important to remember that South African crime is a complex issue influenced by a number of different contributing factors, including alcohol consumption.

The inception of the Level 3 regulations has also meant increased freedom of movement for people as a whole, potentially allowing for greater opportunities for a rise in criminal activity.

One consideration is whether arbitrary on-and-off-again bans on alcohol may potentially lead to spikes in alcohol abuse as a result of scarcity and whether it does not contribute instead to people as a whole engaging in black market activity which places them at increased risk.

The central question is whether this ban is necessary, or whether it is the equivalent of putting a temporary band-aid on a systemic issue in South Africa.

One consideration is whether on-and-off bans on alcohol may lead to increased moments of alcohol abuse as a result of scarcity and whether people drink more responsibly without this uncertainty.

There are, of course, no easy answers to finding a permanent fix to the South African crime problem, and what is needed is a fundamental change in South African society as a whole.

Do you think reinstating the alcohol ban would be a step too far or a necessary evil?

Author – Murray Taylor

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