Another open letter to transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele

Dear Sbu,

By lowering the legal alcohol limit from 0.05 to zero, South Africa could proudly take its place among some of the world’s foremost economic powerhouses and shining examples of democracy, such as Cuba, Ukraine and Slovenia.

The current legal limit translates into two beers or two glasses of wine. Personally, I think anyone who drinks wine instead of beer should be locked up regardless of their blood alcohol levels.

To be frank, I think the existing arrangements are positively draconian. A foetus could drive safely after two beers. Well, certainly a foetus with foetal alcohol syndrome.

I know it sounds a bit Stalinist, but why don’t you just put all the bars under state control? Drinkers will have to apply for permits. Two tokens per person per night. I would have stockpiled my tokens, but you will doubtlessly make sure that they expire after midnight on the date of issue.

I have a better idea. Keep the bars open 24 hours a day and ban cars altogether. Nothing unites a nation quicker than having its streets filled with millions of citizens listing heavily to starboard and urinating and vomiting on one another while singing the national anthem.

Being nearly two metres tall and having been weaned on beer, I can quite easily quaff a dozen and still have a perfectly acceptable conversation with the Queen of England, which I did in Windhoek several years ago. The British ambassador must have had other reasons for never inviting me to any more of his soirees.

Other people, smaller ones, have half a glass of chardonnay and it’s onto the table and off with the knickers. Women like this are fun to have around and I am sure you will agree that they should be allowed to drink and drive.

Most people, when they leave a bar, aren’t sure whether or not they are over the limit. I always find a good indication is if you try to start your car with your credit card. If you want to make sure that you’re still legal, you could check yourself over the internet. If your phone hasn’t been stolen by the end of the evening, go to and it will calculate your blood alcohol content. There’s no point in lying about how much you’ve had to drink. It’s not your wife. I indulged in a little home-based carousing the other evening and, when I tested myself on the website, the conclusion was: “You should be dead by now.” I thought this was a bit rude.

Seriously, S’bu my bru. It’s not right that you will ask parliament to change the law. MPs are permanently accompanied by designated drivers. They can get completely trashed and pass out in the back of the Merc, never having to worry about roadblocks. It is we, professional dipsomaniacs whose driving skills actually improve with alcohol, who should decide on whether the limit stays as it is or is scrapped altogether.

I don’t want to live in a country where I risk being tossed into a rat-infested cell to have my bottom interfered with by a man with a spiderweb tattooed on his face, simply because I ate a liqueur chocolate before getting behind the wheel. Might as well move to Saudi Arabia.

Are you aware, comrade minister, that 40% of people who die on the roads are drunk pedestrians? I expect you will be wanting roadblocks on the country’s major pavements now. Drinking and walking must be outlawed immediately.


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