Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, was speaking at an ANC lecture in eThekwini about the impact of alcohol during the country’s efforts in fighting COVID-19.
During that lecture, Cele gave statistics related to the easing of restrictions on the unbanning of alcohol sales and distribution.
“Six hundred thousand people – they die through alcohol in the Republic of South Africa, come every year. I’m sure I’m correct with that number, but since the opening, 34 000 beds are occupied in the Republic of South Africa as we speak,” Cele said.
According to professor Andrew Nicol, president of the Trauma Society of South Africa, the country saw around 34 615 trauma cases per week, prior to the lockdown.
Around 40% of these cases were related to alcohol and translated to at least 13 846 patients to hospitals per week countrywide.
40% of this alcohol related cases translated to around 17 000 of people admitted to hospital every week.
There was a 65% drop of that number during level 4 and level 5 of the lockdown but admissions increased since level 3 was introduced.
“You pay your money, you drink alcohol and you come and clog the system,” said Cele during the lecture.