Mbabane: With reports of road carnages making rounds in the Republic of South Africa as a result of lifting the alcohol ban last week, moving to alert Level 2, the concern as raised by some locals is to the effect that Eswatini will fall in the same trap of road accidents should government resort to a similar move.
Swaziland Unions of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (SUFIAW), Secretary General, Vincent Ncongwane lamented the road accidents in South Africa caused by drunken driving in less than a week of the lifting of the ban on alcohol. Ncongwane said the imbibers did not have a problem if they acted responsibly but if not they would be reckless and put innocent souls at risk.
The trade unionist empathized with the South African families who lost their loved ones through road accidents caused by drunken driving, and prayed that when Eswatini did lift the ban too, the authorities would have put in place stringent measures to deal with the drunkards.
“We cannot be held hostage by these drunkards who are a danger not just to themselves, but all of us who are in same space as them,” said the unionist. Ncongwane said high fines alone may not work as offenders seem to have the money to pay up, but called for the suspension of drivers’ licenses as well as bans on driving. He called for possible permanent revoking of drivers’ licenses in addition to effecting other sanctions and infringements.
On the other hand, the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) have issued that as an organization they are positive on the effects of the possible lifting of the alcohol anytime soon. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer (PICO), Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said they trust that EmaSwati will handle themselves appropriately should the ban be lifted anytime this week.
Last Week, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be moving to alert level 2 with bans on travel between provinces and the sale of alcohol and tobacco products being lifted. The move followed a special cabinet meeting last week where they received advice from health experts who advised that the country had managed to arrest rapid transmission of the Covid-19 virus and that health-care infrastructure would not be undermined.
On day 142 of the nationwide lockdown, which was announced in March, Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for the sale of tobacco products which had been prohibited throughout the period, resulting in a number of legal challenges. Finance minister Tito Mboweni had publicly expressed his unhappiness with the move which had severely affected the country’s ability to collect revenue even as the economy tanked.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on August 15 2020 that South Africa would be moving to lockdown alert level 2 from August 18 2020. He announced many other restrictions that would be lifted, including bans on alcohol and tobacco sales, while family visits and local travel would be permitted. The announcement came after health experts advised that the country has now managed to arrest rapid transmission of the Covid-19 virus and that health-care infrastructure would not be undermined. (Source: News24)