Reitumetse Makwea
2 minute read
12 Jan 2021
3:06 pm

Alcohol industry laments lack of consultation in ‘devastating’ booze ban

Reitumetse Makwea

Alcohol retailers were hoping to reopen on the 16th of January for at least home consumption.

File picture. Buying sparkling wine at the Liquor City in Karaglen, Edenvale, 18 August 2020 on the first day that liquor and tobacco sales are allowed after moving to level 2 of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Neil McCartney

The alcohol industry is concerned with the Presidency’s alleged failure to consult them on the booze ban extension.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the ban will continue as is to limit trauma cases in hospitals.

“We are deeply disappointed that the alcohol ban was extended,” said Beer Association of SA (BASA) CEO, Patricia Pillay.

“Government embarked on this action with no consultation with the beer industry and with very little thought given to the plight of small business owners of craft breweries.”

Many alcohol retailers were hoping to reopen on the 16th of January in order to make a few sales and recover from the 2 weeks of lost income.

VinPro managing director, Rico Basson took to Twitter to say that “there are more reasonable alternatives than a 4th total alcohol ban. This is a devastating blow for our wine industry that is already in a dire situation after an 18-week domestic ban.”

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BASA said that they will be requesting an urgent meeting with the Presidency and various ministries to unpack the rationale being used for the extension of the ban and its implications for the beer sector.

“We will also resubmit our proposals to encourage moderate, responsible consumption. We will also reiterate our proposal for off-site consumption trade to be resumed within the framework of the existing curfew, restriction on gatherings, and events.” Pillay explained.

Many alcohol retailers are concerned with the sustainability of the industry seeing that the President did not mention an end date to the booze ban, leaving the whole industry in limbo on when they will be able to trade again.

“This extended ban, with no end-date, will likely result in several job losses across the sector, as breweries shut down permanently following over 100 days of restricted trade in the past 10 months,” said Pillay.

Even before the alcohol ban was extended, the South African Breweries (SAB) said it would be approaching the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the ban on the sale of alcohol.

The SAB has not answered any queries from The Citizen on Tuesday.

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