A second couple have died an agonising death after making up a batch of home-brew beer to get round South Africa’s tough alcohol ban on drinking during lockdown.
Melvin Afrikaner, 54, and wife Winnie, 50, were rushed to hospital after downing several bottles of potent home-made ginger beer but died whilst in intensive care.
Only a fortnight ago estate agent Tony Hilliar, 54, and partner Alida Fouche, 42, died a horrific death after knocking back just a bottle each of home-brewed pineapple beer.
It is believed both couples died after adding almost pure 97 per cent alcohol in the form of ethanol into their home brew to make it mind blowingly strong but poisoned themselves.
Melvin Afrikaner, 54, and wife Winnie (pictured together), 50, were rushed to hospital after downing several bottles of potent home-made ginger beer but died whilst in intensive care
Drinkers in South Africa have been banned from buying alcohol from supermarkets or off licences since the lockdown began nearly eight weeks ago and all the bars were shut down.
It was part of a tough crackdown by President Cyril Ramaphaso who also banned the sale of cigarettes and introduced a night time curfew and bizarrely forbade the sale of flip-flops.
Alcohol-loving South Africans in response began illegally making strong beer from traditional recipes which include pineapple or ginger which date back to the old apartheid days.
The first reported deaths came in Port Nolloth in Northern Cape Province where well-known local man Tony Hilliar brewed up a powerful pineapple beer for himself and his partner.
A fortnight ago estate agent Tony Hilliar, 54, and partner Alida Fouche (pictured together), 42, died a horrific death after knocking back just a bottle each of home-brewed pineapple beer
But after drinking just one bottle each both collapsed in agony and by the time emergency services arrived secretary Alida was already dead and Tony died days later in hospital.
Their pineapple beer brew was seized by police and is undergoing laboratory tests but South African Police confirmed it appeared that both victims had died from alcohol poisoning.
In the latest tragedy Melvin and wife Winnie collapsed at their home in Ocean View near Cape Town but managed to raise the alarm and were rushed by ambulance to hospital.
But officials at False Bay Hospital said they could not be saved and police say they are now awaiting a post-mortem autopsy report to confirm the home-brew was responsible.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rxexana is pictured
A relative, who asked not to be named, told IOL Media: ‘They drank home-made ginger beer which apparently had pure alcohol mixed into it and they died in the hospital.
‘We hope this can be an eye-opener for others who are making these brews at home’.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rxexana confirmed the deaths and said: ‘We are investigating the double death of a male and a female and awaiting post mortem results.
‘A 54-year-old male and a 50-year-old woman died after an incident in Ocean View.’
The internet site alcoholrehab.com said in Africa it is common to use traditional recipes to make beer from items such as pineapple, ginger and sorghum but warned of the dangers.
It said:’Makers of these beverages and other homemade alcoholic drinks often add high-octane fuel or other chemicals to the mix to increase the euphoric effects of the brew.
‘These harmful added ingredients however can cause death or irreparable damage to the drinker’s vital organs and can even cause blindness by damaging the optic nerves,’ it said.
It added that in Kenya the locally brewed Chang’aa beer can include jet fuel or embalming fluid or battery acid and ends up so potent it translates into English as ‘Kill Me Quick’.
False Bay Hospital where home brew drinkers Melvin and Winnie Afrikaner were rushed for emergency treatment but later died
Last week thirsty thieves broke into the Rest in Peace funeral parlour in Clocolan in Free State Province, South Africa, and stole four gallons of 97 per cent alcohol proof exhumation liquid.
Police believe they will use the liquid, which is normally used to preserve bodies that have been dug up, in illegal mixtures to concoct powerful home brews.
There is still no end in sight for the 58-million-strong population of South Africa in having the alcohol ban lifted and supermarkets report selling ten times as many pineapples as usual.
Google also reported that ‘how to brew homemade alcohol’ is one of their highest internet search requests in South Africa since the ban was brought into the country 55 days ago.
President Ramaphosa is however refusing all calls to relax the hugely unpopular ban on booze and cigarettes and the only good news for locals was that the flip-flop ban has been dropped.
The loss of tax revenue to the nation is said to be ‘eye watering’ and South Africa along with Panama and Sri Lanka are now the only three countries operating a booze lockdown ban.