Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
5 Jan 2021
6:34 pm

‘250,000 jobs on the line’ – Tavern industry asks government to lift booze ban

Citizen Reporter

The industry is calling for a resumption of liquor sales, as well as financial relief to the value not less than R20,000 per trader.

Lucky Ntimane, convener of the National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC). Picture: Supplied

The tavern industry has called upon government to lift the ban on alcohol sales, saying scores of businesses face permanent closure, ahead of the National Coronavirus Command Council’s (NCCC) meeting on Wednesday, 6 January.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last month that the country was moving back to adjusted level 3 lockdown that had seen all social gatherings, including faith-based gatherings, being banned for the first two weeks of January.

Alcohol sales are also not allowed under the amended level 3 lockdown regulations.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) convener Lucky Ntimane said while traders support government efforts to combat the Covid-19 second wave, approximately 250,000 jobs were on the line.

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Ntimane said the industry called on government to allow the sale of liquor from 16 January.

“With the last two bans over 165 000 people have already lost their jobs and another 100 000 people are moving into poverty as a result of the alcohol bans.

“Sadly, these people will not have the minimum resources to sustain their livelihoods. Resuming off-consumption sales with restricted trading days and hours could alleviate this burden while protecting lives.

“We continue to urge law enforcement agencies to take a tougher stance against the illicit and illegal trading of liquor,” he said.

Ntimane noted that traders continued to suffer the brunt of the lockdowns first implemented.

“Out of the 284 days that the country has been on some measure of lockdown, liquor traders have not been able to trade in liquor for +100 days with no government support whatsoever to cushion against this blow. Closure is the immediate reality faced by the majority of 34,500 taverns including shebeen permit holders.

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“1 million jobs across the full alcohol value chain are at risk and the taverns support township based jobs that anchor households and ensure that more than 250,000 families have meals on their tables daily,” he added.

He further said the industry calls on government to consider a moratorium on licence renewals and linked fee increases for a period of not less than one year, and financial relief for liquor traders to cover their non-trading loses to the value of not less than R20,000.

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

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