By John Fraser
What do you do when a man is down? Do you offer him a helping hand, a word of encouragement, comfort and hope? Not if you are one of the out-of-control fanatics of the governing ANC.
Having used bouts of prohibition and curfews to drive most of SA’s restaurants and wine farms to the brink of ruin – and having succeeded in pushing all-too-many over the cliff into bankruptcy, our beloved government now has a new booze-bashing bombshell to deploy for a dance on the grave of this most civilised of sectors
It’s a ban on driving with the merest drop of alcohol in your blood.
Now nobody in their right mind, and not even those of us whose minds are getting wonkier by the day under the Covid menace, would suggest that driving while drunk is a good thing.
It is not. It should be discouraged. People should be safe and sensible.
But there is a differenced between being sensible and being totally bloody fanatical.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, one of those born-again temperance types, appears to believe he has some divine duty to crush the livelihoods of those who crush grapes, along with the rest of we fermented-grape-loving worshippers of Bacchus.
From June, under a law which has already reportedly been signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that will be it. You do not drive if there is any booze at all in your system.
Of course, there is the option of having a boozy lunch and then heading off in an Uber, but that will be expensive, and the additional cost would certainly act as a deterrent.
Bad, bad, bad for business. An already battered, buggered business.
There has been a lot of preaching recently by the ANC government about the dangers of booze, and they are not entirely wrong.
There are people who do become violent, aggressive, abusive if they have been drinking heavily. But using the iron rod of prohibition in controlling all of these cretins must be balanced against the infringement of the basic rights of the rest of us who regard a beer on the way home from work, or a good meal with a glass or two of good wine, and a safe but not 100% sober drive home as a good thing.
Have tough alcohol limits, do. But be reasonable, be measured, be intelligent about this.
Of course, it is an open secret that preaching comes more naturally to our politicians than practicing does.
Take the Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was suspended for breaking Covid rules and going to lunch with a bunch of chums.
Or Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, who has been all over social media today attending the funeral of another Minister – failing to wear a mask. He had died of Covid. No irony there.
I have to include this pic of her. It is worth so many thousands of words:
The event (dis)graced by the presence of this ANC maskless super-spreader had been the official funeral of Minister Jackson Mthembu, who had died far too young from Covid. While I was no admirer of his pedestrian and patronising delivery at regular government briefings, many of which featured his colleagues ranting against the demon drink, I join those who pay tribute to his patriotism, to his service to his country.
However, even the most patriotic of politicians can be led astray.
Ten years ago or so, when he was the ANC spokesman, Mthembu was nabbed for drink driving, with more than three times the legal alcohol limit in his blood.
He was fined, and immediately threw his weight behind the road safety campaign.
I did not listen to all the eulogies, but have not yet spotted much mention of this particular blight on his political career.
Of course, if the Orwellian ANC gets its way and completely crushes our hospitality industry and wine farms, there will be less scope for any of us to emulate the mistakes of the much-lamented Mthembu.
What a bullying bunch of hypocrites they are.
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