Eric Naki
Political Editor
1 minute read
20 Jul 2020
5:25 am

Liquor traders call on government to pay back licence fees

Eric Naki

According to LiquorWise, a well-known restaurant in the Western Cape lost R1 million due to liquor expiring in kegs.

Picture: iStock

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s move to reimpose the ban on the sale of liquor has sparked a backlash as liquor licence holders now demand that the government pay back the money they paid for their licences.

The call has added to the liquor industry’s outcry over their suffering under the ban and that they were contemplating retrenching hundreds of thousands of employees.

Restaurant Association of South Africa CEO Wendy Alberts described the ban as “diabolic” and a “complete fiasco” and said members would have no choice but to retrench workers.

Separately, the licence holders yesterday said they paid good money upfront for licences but now, with the ban, they cannot use them to earn an income.

“Money shouldn’t be a problem for the government. After all, they lose billions from liquor; and cigarettes taxes go to the black market. Licence holders are saying – it’s payback time,” they said.

Last week, the licence holders complained about the liquor that expired in their stores because they could not sell it due to the restrictions.

According to LiquorWise, who are liquor licence specialists, a well-known restaurant in the Western Cape lost R1 million due to liquor expiring in kegs. “And he’s not alone. Many other restaurants are in the same dire situation.”

Despite the liquor having expired, they still had to pay suppliers. The situation has been worsened by insurance companies that refuse to pay out for the alcohol.

“Every day, more restaurants are proverbially drowning in their blood, being forced to commit commercial suicide,” LiquorWise said.

“Let’s support those many brave restaurateurs who are still fighting to survive and are keeping many thousands in a job.”

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