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Cele's 'ban alcohol' comments leave bitter taste for some

In an interview with City Press, Police Minister Bheki Cele suggested that alcohol sales be shut down even after the lockdown.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed the media on 28 November 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele has again set tongues wagging with his latest comments on the ban of alcohol sales in South Africa.

Alcohol and tobacco sales have been temporarily banned in South Africa during the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

In an interview with City Press, Cele suggested that alcohol sales be shut down even after the lockdown.

“My first prize would be that we shut down alcohol, but I know we cannot do that. Nothing tells me that taking alcohol will make life easier," he told the paper.

“For South Africa, alcohol has not been the only issue when it comes to regulations relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Murder has gone down in South Africa. Even in the butcher of the republic, the Western Cape, murder numbers have really gone down. The impact of the reduction of alcohol has had an impact on ordinary crime, especially violent crime.”

In 2019, Cele said police stations reporting high numbers of alcohol confiscations over the festive season were mostly the same stations which experienced a spike in murders, attempted murders, rapes and domestic abuse cases.

Cele's comments have divided the public, with some agreeing with him and others slamming the suggestion.