By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2020-06-30
THE Swaziland National Liquor Association has dismissed claims by government that some of the cluster infections of COVID-19 are a result of house parties where alcohol was consumed.
Government in its response to SNLA yesterday argued that advice from health experts and professionals is to the effect that alcohol is a factor in the spike of COVID-19 hence the need to prohibit the sale of alcohol for some time to save the lives of Emaswati and avoid the health system.
Bandile Simelane from SNLA argued that government is very strategic in its response as this was noted by the late response which they received well after business hours yesterday while they had sent a communiqué to government on time.
Simelane said government ‘s argument that the spike has been witnessed in places where house parties are held is baseless because there are few incidents of such which were reported in the media such as the one where a female cop was allegedly gang raped during a house party at a certain lodge.
Simelane said this is because at that incident, law enforcement officers denied any existence of a party.
He said there was no one who was arrested for breaching COVID-19 regulations. instead, there was someone who was arrested accused for an alleged rape.
Simelane went on to state that this is even more surprising because if there was a house party, it was hosted by police officers who went to an extent of booking a lodge to carry out an activity which was against the law.
Simelane lamented that an action of a few reckless individuals is now costing over 14 000 people their opportunity to put food on the table at these tough times.
On the issue of government stating that any litigation that SNLA may institute will be opposed forcefully, Simelane said it would seem like government is not willing to engage in talks that will yield amicable solutions.
He said as SNLA, they respect the laws of the land as they are citizens of the country. He said they are more than willing to sit on the roundtable with government and deliberate on a way forward.
By yesterday night, Simelane said since they had received the response from government very late, they did not have a chance to meet with their membership and forge a way forward.
He accused government of delivering the response late on purpose.
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