The National Liquor Traders (NLT) has vowed to not participate in any future alcohol bans imposed by the government.
On Tuesday, the NLT embarked on a vaccination drive for tavern owners in an attempt to convince government to end an era of alcohol bans.
The event was attended by among others, the Gauteng MEC for economic development Parks Tau, along with Santaco president Philip Taaibosch, consumer goods council of SA CEO Gwarega Mangozhe, and tourism business council of SA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa as guest speakers.
Convener Lucky Ntimane said: “We have long accepted that accepting alcohol bans would somehow get us out of the misery of having to fight Covid 19, and we have since realised that that was not the case.
“The alcohol bans that we had to endure as liquor traders as some of you are not aware, we had to be banned for almost 24 weeks.
“We have not been able to trade and support our families for almost half a year.”
While this has destroyed many livelihoods and resulted in job losses, Ntimane said the final straw was that there was no support that the government was offering to support traders during the period.
“The president continues to lie to the public and say that we are getting support.
“There is not liquor trader in South Africa who has received a single cent from this government, we had to be banned we had to accept, no more.
“We will not participate in any future alcohol bans. There is talk that in December we might be subjected to alcohol ban, those that are close to the president or if the president is listening we will not participate in those bans you can do it alone.”
Back in August Heineken South Africa said although it was still invested in the country and has a long-term commitment, “continuous bans were placing pressure on the industry to retain jobs, create new ones, and contribute to the local economy.
“Local production were hampered, resulting in ongoing efforts by the business to implement cost-cutting measures including, but not limited to, salary cuts as we desperately attempt to protect the jobs of more than 900 employees.
“Approximately 117,000 jobs were lost in the industry during the first ban on alcohol sales.”
In July, the NTL penned a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and voiced out their frustrations about liquor sales ban.
“As an industry, we are on our knees. We have suffered many months over the last year when our members could not earn their own living,” Ntimane said in that letter.
“Past experience of dealing with the pandemic showed it was possible for liquor traders to continue to operate, subject to fully complying with safe operating standards, in a way that had not always been possible previously.”