I smell a rat

David Bullard asks what is really behind the booze & baccy ban


I’m not a conspiracy theorist but when I got up on Monday morning to send this column to the editor I found I had no Gmail connection. Is this all part of the Chinese 5G plan to rule the world I wondered. All rather frightening considering it’s about the only reliable link to the outside world I have since Telkom discontinued their landline service.

Something they are rather optimistically billing me for notwithstanding I sent them a screen shot of their own website clearly showing that none of their services are available where I live. I think I’m supposed to go down to my local Telkom shop and fight this out but I’ve been down twice now to no avail.

Each visit produces a completely different solution from their very friendly staff but no closure yet so I await being dragged to court for non payment for a non existent service along, I have no doubt, with thousands of other unhappy former customers.

It is mind boggling how a SOE with a fantastic monopolistic advantage could screw things up so badly. As I have written previously, I was a loyal customer of Telkom for almost 40 years and I always had great service. Now they appear to have completely gone to the dogs.


The more perceptive among you will have already guessed that this column has been amended to include the whinge about Telkom. What I really wanted to say though is how on earth are we supposed to take seriously a minister of police who dresses like a Chicago gangster?

It’s not even as if Cde Bheki has an unblemished past (as a serious gangster as it happens) but let that pass for now. He is a fellow 1952 vintage chap doing a difficult job in very difficult circumstances and deserves our qualified support. I wouldn’t want his job for all the gin behind locked doors in my local booze shop. Which brings me sharply to the point. What is the real story behind the booze and ciggie ban?

I’m reluctantly in favour of our other lockdown features even if they do look a tad draconian compared to other countries. It would be lovely to get down to the beach in the morning and have a five km walk with some recommended social distancing but that depends upon the common sense of others and common sense is not that common.

So I bite the bullet and accept that I can’t go out walking, even on my own estate, on the remote off-chance some idiot might mess things up by arranging a braai with a few like minded neighbours. Highly unlikely as it happens but simply not worth the risk. So I stay trapped in my own home with the very occasional trip out to collect essentials or medicines.

What I and most others cannot understand though is why tobacco products and alcohol sales are banned. The Brits are allowed out for an hour’s exercise every day and they can walk their dogs. They can also buy booze and ciggies. Now, I can just about accept that our lockdown terms prevent us from venturing out of our front doors and I can only imagine the dog poo build up if you happen to live in a flat with a pooch. But this no booze, no ciggie ban stinks to high heaven.

The evidence offered by our Mafioso dressed police chief thus far is that violent crimes have fallen substantially since booze sales were stopped. Those figures may need to be open to independent scrutiny but they are probably roughly accurate when applied to the sort of communities where this sort of thing takes place. But has domestic violence fallen dramatically in Constantia or in my neck of the woods in the winelands? Even if it was being measured I doubt whether the numbers would be significant so why this Sharia law purge on alcohol?

Cele has even talked about extending the alcohol ban after the lockdown which should put the nail in the coffin of our wine industry once and for all. That’s an industry conservatively valued at R35bn per annum and, post the fires in Australia, we have a rare market advantage when it comes to selling New World wines….except we won’t be allowed to produce them because the prat in the hat has decided they are non essential.

If there are rats to be smelled here it is that the illicit tobacco trade has previously been a great financial supporter of the ruling party and the EFF in the past. Mrs Zuma has some lovely pics on Twitter of her cosying up to self-confessed tobacco gangsters. Imagine the flows to the coffers of the ANC if this could be extended to the booze industry.

Obviously booze would become available but the ruling party would need to get a fat cut of the profits. It would be US prohibition all over again and we all know how successful that was.

The ANC do have an unfortunate history of being utterly corruptible and dishonest and it’s only right that we should view this ban on tobacco products and alcohol as highly suspicious. Having deserted their support base for over two decades when it come to simple matters of health care, housing and supplies of potable water we should seriously question their concerns over ciggies and booze. Trust me, this is nothing more than yet another ANC scam to line the pockets of the cadres. It’s enough to drive you to drink isn’t it?