Alcohol ban has made Joburg a safer place


While the South African Breweries has lost billions of rands in investments and businesses have called for the sale of alcohol again, the ban on liquor yielded some results as there were less fatal accidents on the roads.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), alcohol considerably contributes to road accidents, as at least 27% of vehicle crashes and road fatalities are due to drunk driving.

Since the government banned the sale of alcohol again, there had been fewer road accidents due to a decline in drunk driving, RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.

“Evidence has shown that the period when alcohol is not freely available, the number of fatalities on the road also goes down.

“We know from research that alcohol plays a role in about 27% of fatal road accidents and crashes.

“Since the re-banning of alcohol sales, we have not seen many crashes.

“Every weekend, especially payday weekends, there is normally a spike in road fatalities but under the Covid-19 conditions and the ban on alcohol, we no longer see that spike,” Zwane said.

In the six weeks in which the liquor ban was initially lifted, from 1 June, road accidents in Johannesburg doubled compared to the previous month, said Johannesburg metro police department spokesperson Wayne Minnaar.

“We observed that alcohol was a contributory factor.

“If you remember, there was an accident in Fourways where the BMW driver lost control and bumped and killed a pedal cyclist on the pavement.

“In that accident, alcohol was a contributory factor.”

The ban on alcohol sales had contributed to a reduction in road accidents in the city, he said.

“What we have observed in the considerable reduction in accidents is that it is because alcohol is no longer permitted.”

The RTMC would continue to monitor drunk driving and subject suspected motorists to blood tests or breathalyser tests, Zwane said.

But the lockdown regulation did not completely put an end to driving under the influence, as some drivers were drunk from homebrews, or even drinks spiked with sanitiser, Minnaar said.

“The JMPD wants to issue a warning that any [motorist] consuming homebrewed, pineapple beer or a drink spiked with sanitiser, which has high alcohol content, will be arrested, blood samples will be drawn and they will be processed.”


– The Citizen

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