The liquor industry has welcomed the partial lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol at restaurants and outlets.
South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) chair Sibani Mngadi said yesterday the partial opening of sales and the three months deferment in excise tax payments due on alcoholic beverages was a “huge relief”.
But the industry had a long way to go to recover from financial loses.
“We were nowhere near being out of the woods, especially for the off-site consumption outlets that continued to be restricted to trading Monday to Thursday,” he said.
“There was no justification for the prohibition, implemented with no warning, no consultation and poor empirical justification, which prevented legitimate businesses supporting more than 1 000 000 livelihoods across South Africa from operating.
“These included businesses in the agriculture, tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors and, importantly, hundreds of thousands of SMEs,” he added.
Salba chief executive Kurt Moore added: “These bans were harmful to both government and business revenue and were a serious threat to jobs.”
He noted that 248 759 jobs remained at risk across the industry, about 1.59% of the national total of formal and informal employment for last year.
“In addition, the alcohol industry lost 161 days of trading between 26 March 2020 to 25 July 2021 due to the government’s alcohol bans.
“Even before the cost of the looting to the alcohol industry is factored in, the four alcohol bans already cost the country’s GDP an estimated R64.8 billion or 1.3% of GDP,” said Moore.