Support for the Alcohol Ban and Condemnation of Police Use of Excessive Force

The United Ulama Council of South Africa, (United Council of Muslim Theologians of South Africa) endorses the sentiments expressed by various organisations opposing the lifting of the ban on alcohol sales during the period of the national lockdown.The United Ulama Council of South Africa, (United Council of Muslim Theologians of South Africa) endorses the sentiments expressed by various organisations opposing the lifting of the ban on alcohol sales during the period of the national lockdown.

The sale of alcohol will compromise the core objective of the lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the impaired judgement which is experienced by inebriated individuals while strict social distancing laws must be observed. This is in addition to the burden that alcohol places on hospital emergency rooms and police services across the country due to crimes associated with alcohol abuse such as assault, robbery, murder, and rape, as well as increased levels of domestic abuse and domestic violence, given that families are constrained within very restricted spaces.The economic impact of the lockdown on the alcohol industry is no different to the effect the lockdown has on other industries and economic sectors such as the clothing and food retail sectors who are also significant employers. It’s in times like these that citizens should be able to prioritize between needs and wants. Alcohol is a want that the fight against the spread of Covid19 can ill afford.We condemn the use of excessive force by the Police services, and call upon the authorities to rein in the errant and rogue elements within both the South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) that abuse their authority and tarnish the name of these state agencies whose function is to protect the lives, dignity and property of people while trying to enforce the lockdown regulations. Our President was emphatic when calling on the army and police saying: “Our people will be looking to you to give them assurance, not as a force of might but as a force of kindness. They must know that you will be looking after them. Go and support our people. Go and defend our people.”We commend all those officers, who are working under immense pressure, yet continue to maintain a non-aggressive composure. Humiliation of members of the public, especially the most vulnerable among us, are policing methods that cannot be condoned and should not be allowed to take root under any circumstanceY Patel (Ml)Secretary General15 April 2020