Treat us like adults, allow the limited sale of alcohol and tobacco during lockdown

Treat us like adults, allow the limited sale of alcohol and tobacco during lockdown

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Penny Meyer started this petition to presidentrsa@presidency.gov.za and

To: The President of the Republic of South Africa

The National Command Council

The lockdown regulations promulgated under the Disaster Management Act are not exempt from the normal requirements of review.  As such we petition the President and the ministers who make up the National Command Council to exercise their authority in conformity with the Constitution and administrative justice.  Whilst we accept that the threat presented by the Covid-19 Pandemic is serious and does require stricter measures to ensure public safety, Government must keep in mind that they are placed in their positions of authority by the people and that their authority stems from the people.  We are therefore concerned that Government is overstepping its mandate in the imposition of the regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol and cigarettes during lockdown

An administrative decision must be rationally connected to the desired outcome.  In this case the desired outcome is to prevent people from congregating together, thus spreading the virus.  Logically then, pubs, taverns and restaurants must be closed.  However the use of alcohol and cigarettes at home cannot be linked to the spread of the virus.  Everywhere else in the world, citizens are regarded as autonomous adults and those that chose to can access these products.  Why then are South Africans being regarded as less able to act responsibly than Europeans or Americans?  This is what the government is implying with these regulations, and it is frankly insulting.  There is absolutely no scientific basis for these bans, which seem to have been imposed due to the disapproval on the part of some nanny Ministers of the use of these substances, albeit that they are legal in South Africa, and for the convenience of certain (mostly the same) Ministers.   This is borne out by the constant changing of the alleged rationale behind these regulations, at first it was claimed that crime goes down, now crime has nothing to do with it, it is to do with health.  Most concerning is the turnaround on the sale of tobacco, due to some opinions received from the general public - that cigarettes could be shared!!!  Well so could cans of cooldrink!  This is not scientific justification.  This is abusing the state of disaster to achieve an ulterior purpose.  We re-iterate: there is no scientific evidence to support the contention that the use of alcohol or cigarettes renders people more vulnerable to Covid-19.  In fact there is some evidence to the contrary in the case of cigarettes.

The inevitable outcome of these regulations is the coming about of a black market in cigarettes and alcohol.  History tells us that prohibition results in criminality.  The fiscus is also losing out on the not insignificant taxes generated by legal sales, at a time when the state needs every cent it can get.

We are convinced that the regulations would not stand legal review in the courts, and in fact the tobacco industry is planning to take the regulations to the courts.  If the Government defends and loses, this is a further unjustifiable waste of tax revenue. 

Let rationality prevail!

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At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!