The tragic deaths of 22 young people in the Entobeni Tavern incident is not an isolated case. It calls for more decisive action and a total ban on alcohol in order to save lives and prevent a repeat of this unfortunate tragedy.
In Limpopo a tavern owner and her husband were killed after they refused to sell alcohol to minors and that resulted in a violent protest in which she shot two people. So, the problem is not just sales to minors but the very sales and consumption of alcohol and its impact on the lives of communities.
It is a source of great concern for parents who are justifiably worried when the scourge of sexual offences against women include infants, toddlers, young girls and even abogogo. Alcohol consumption exacerbates grave underlying issues in our communities.
The North West Province case is still fresh in our minds where a girl in the company of her male friend was accosted by 6 drunken minors between the ages of 14 and 17 and repeatedly gang raped from 7pm until 4am the next morning.
Ntombovuyo Ngweyi from Mvezo is another case in point of a young woman who was raped and killed by four young men the youngest being 15yrs in a tavern without a liquor licence. We must call for the total shut down of taverns in our communities to stem this tide of GBV and wanton criminality.
This call is not made lightly as the industry always justify their operations by citing job losses, losses to secondary economic activities and its impact on community livelihoods. We say that such justification is farcical in the light of the innocent lives lost in the Entobeni Tavern tragedy and other such incidents.
We call on CBOs, NGOs, faith based organisations and all organs of civil society to call for a ban on alcohol sales. Its time we put an end to those who kill out children and who profiteer from the lives of our innocent children.
Ban alcohol sales now in our communities.
Close community taverns now.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela