Fanie Augustyn's Story

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Dear Mr President and NCCC.

I am writing this even though I know that it will not be read and that it will have no effect on what
government does, but be sure to know that, by banning alcohol sales you have taken away the
livelihood of 300 000 people in the SA wine industry alone and that does not take into account my
gardener and domestic that I am now unable to support as is thousands more that I am not even
aware of and who depends on the workers in the SA Wine industry.

What irks me is the way in which Government misuse statistics to cover up their blatant lies and
shifting the blame onto the citizenry and people doing an honest day's work to feed their families.
All this while the fat cats in government did nothing, I wanted to do use the F....all word but my
parents taught me to respect the elders, to build capacity during the longest lockdown in the world.
What happened to the beds you and your Government were supposed to provide for the expected
Covid-19 peak?

But back to lies and statistics. Herewith the gripe that I have with the use of statistics to justify the
draconian ban of alcohol:

1. When lockdown was announced in March, supposedly to get the system ready, you were
fully aware of the effect of murders, stabbings, car accidents, domestic violence, heart
attacks etc, on the health system and you were supposed to build capacity while we as
citizens did our best to flatten the curve. We all know that South Africans of all races
adhered to the flattening of the curve, but Government did not hold up their side of the
bargain.

2. Percentages are being bandied about to justify the banning of alcohol. I suppose
percentages paints a better picture than actual number, does it not? But let me remind you
of your own statistics:

a. Minister Zweli Mkize last week said that with the previous liquor ban there were
40-50% less trauma cases.

b. Then the number mentioned changed to 140-260 trauma cases per day in the
Western Cape.

c. Then our Honourable Minister changes from numbers to averages i.e. 89
emergencies during the initial lockdown. Can the minister please give us actual
figures and the average of the numbers mentioned in b. above? We all know that
percentages mean nothing as 100% of nothing is still nothing.

d. Could the decrease in numbers during lockdown perhaps be ascribed to factors
other than the consumption of alcohol i.e.

* Very few cars and Taxi's on the road.
* People under lockdown, staying indoors and not moving around.
* Streets being patrolled by police.
* Gang activities at its lowest because of police presence.
* 70 000 soldiers on the streets.
* This all while people still consumed alcohol, either from own stocks, stolen
from liquor stores or homebrews.

e. Another % being mentioned is a 60-70 increase in cases after unbanning of alcohol.
Again, the minister must remember that it coincided with level three and lots more
people, cars, and Taxi's on the road. How many of the quoted numbers were non-
alcohol related?

f. If we take the average of the % in e. then we get to 65% and if we apply that to the
average of 89 emergencies in the Western Cape during lockdown, then we have an
average daily intake of emergencies of 146 which is at the lower end of the pre-
lockdown figure, but because the minister does not provide figures we cannot say
whether that is better or worse that the average pre-lockdown figure, but logic tells
me that it will be lower, despite alcohol being freely available.

g. These figures are for all emergencies and if we take into account the comments of a
learned Dr Charles Parry on ENCA last Monday night, then a maximum of 50% of all
emergencies are alcohol related which means that out of an average of 146 cases
only 73 can be ascribed to the consumption of alcohol.

h. The doctor further said that they hope to free up 50 000 hospital beds over the
next 8 weeks due to the banning of alcohol. How, because 8 weeks is 56 days and
multiply that with 73 alcohol related admissions then you get 4088 cases over 8
weeks. Let's say the other provinces quadruple that figure, then you get to 16352
over the 8 week period, country wide, and my question therefore is, where does
the other 33648 cases, or to use governments strategy of percentages, 67% come
from?

i. This alcohol related figure of 16352 was later confirmed by Dr Parry as being 18000
beds over 8 weeks and if we take into account 400 state hospitals then you have
shut down the alcohol industry for an average .8 of a person per hospital per day.
j. These are cases that your Government was supposed to take into account when
deciding not to build the hospitals and beds that would be required for Covid-19
patients and the number are not such that the health system cannot handle it and,
if it does, then GOD better help this country and free this population from this
oppression.

3. So Mr president a very simple analysis of your own meagre statistics shows that you are
putting the livelihood of 300 000 wine industry workers and another, according to various
news outlets, 700 000 alcohol related workers on the line to save 16352/18000 critical care
beds over an 8 week period. Does that make sense as only a small % of those may
eventually die?

4. You furthermore want the citizens of this country to again bail you and your cronies our for
not doing your jobs, and Mr President, blaming and getting cross with South African for not
adhering to your stupid rules, shows the total rot of this ANC Government.

Finally, you claim that you are doing this because you care about "our People" but Mr. President, the
elected elite of this country, your colleagues, steal from the poor, prevent them from getting food
parcels, turn a blind eye when your security forces kill and molested citizens and the list goes on and
on. Can you therefore honestly claim you are doing it for the citizens of this country when your
actions are the direct cause of 1,8 million people in the alcohol and hospitality industry lose their
jobs? I doubt it, as can be seen from many reports to the contrary especially the comments from
Pule Mabe that Government will not hesitate to sacrifice the SA economy in order to save lives.
Really, and how many of us will then die of starvation and where Mr President will you get the
money from to rebuild the economy?

Mr President, you have made it impossible for us to visit our families and friend and for law-abiding
citizens to make decent living, but taxi's, churches, funerals and your cronies can carry on as if there
are no risks. Instead of listening to the scientists you succumb to the demands of the trade Unions
instead of showing true leadership. I will therefore only be convinced of your sincerity the day you
take away the salaries of all officials is this country and then make the kind of rules you have been
forcing down on the citizens of South Africa.