South African opposition leader Julius Malema has called for the coronavirus lockdown ban on alcohol to be reimposed.
The firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader was hitting out at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to reopen the economy in a speech for the virtual celebrations of South Africa’s Youth Day.
For two months, South Africa had one of the toughest coronavirus lockdowns in the world – with the sale of alcohol being banned.
It was argued that this would limit domestic abuse, prevent violence and ease pressure on hospitals during the lockdown.
A rise in violent crime has been linked to the partial lifting of alcohol sales on 1 June.
“We call for the reinstatement of the ban on alcohol, for the protection of human life over the desire for profit,” Mr Malema said on Tuesday.
“The president of the country has allowed the sale of alcohol in a country that has a history of high fatalities and hospitalisation due to alcohol-related inter-personal violence.”
Mr Malema said President Ramaphosa would be held personally responsible for coronavirus-related deaths and accused the president of being an “ally of white monopoly capital”.
The EFF leader has previously objected to reopening of schools and places of worship.
South Africa reopened schools for final year students on 8 June, but several schools have since been closed for cleaning after reporting coronavirus cases.