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South Africa’s official opposition lash out at continued ban on alcohol and cigarettes

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South Africa’s official opposition has lashed out at the continued ban on alcohol and cigarettes during the country’s lockdown as “petty, arbitrary and unworkable.”

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenkamp said the alcohol and cigarette ban is cheating the government of millions of dollars in taxes, and putting the money into the pockets of criminal bootleggers.

Sales of alcohol have been banned since the start of South Africa’s lockdown six weeks ago, despite loud protestations from an embattled industry and a population accustomed to South Africa’s fine wines and craft beer.

The idea behind the alcohol ban was simple – stop drunk driving, stop drunken fights to free up vital hospital beds for people with coronavirus.

But enforcing the prohibition has not been so straightforward. The security forces have been accused of beating, even killing people, as they patrol poorer neighbourhoods, hunting for any signs of alcohol.

There have been several instances of liquor stores being looted by the public as well.


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