Govt must only consider sale of alcohol, cigarettes at levels 2 & 1, says IFP

Party president Velenkosini Hlabisa has told Eyewitness News that lifting these bans would reverse the gains achieved in the last few weeks of the lockdown.

FILE: IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: @IFPinParliament/Twitter

DURBAN - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said government must only consider allowing the sale of alcohol and cigarettes at levels two and one of the national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Party president Velenkosini Hlabisa has told Eyewitness News that lifting these bans would reverse the gains achieved in the last few weeks of the lockdown.

While the business sector is calling for the reopening of the economy, Hlabisa said this would be premature as the country had not yet established the full extent of infections within its borders.

Hlabisa said the number of people who had been screened and tested for COVID-19 in the country was far too low and allowing the sale of cigarettes and alcohol may lead to an increase in infections.

"The IFP firmly believes that the two items should not be allowed at this level. It should be allowed once we are clear of the extent of the spread of the virus in our country."

Hlabisa said that the social cost of lifting the ban on the sale of these two items was far greater than the revenue the country was losing.

"We’d rather focus on other items, including an economy that generates more money and creates more job opportunities other than taking a clear risk with our people just because we say we want money."

The IFP has called on law enforcement officials to intensify operations aimed at stopping the illicit trade of alcohol and cigarettes.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.