News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
31 Jan 2021
9:39 pm

Government moots lifting booze ban

News24 Wire

A change in the regulations must first be approved by Cabinet, which is due to meet on Wednesday.

Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

Lifting the prohibition on alcohol sales have been mooted in several government meetings this past week.

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met on Wednesday.

On Saturday at a meeting of Nedlac – which brings together government, business and labour – there was a discussion about the alcohol ban and that there needs to be a resolution on the matter, considering the financial impact of the ban.

Nedlac can’t make a decision on the matter.

Then, on Sunday, the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) met.

News24 understands that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s presentation to this meeting indicated that the rate of infection is slowing.

Subsequently, the relaxation of some regulations was discussed, including the lifting of the booze ban.

A change in the regulations must first be approved by Cabinet.

Cabinet is due to meet on Wednesday. Its previous meeting was on 19 January and Cabinet usually meets every second Wednesday.

The Presidency is still holding its cards close to the chest as to when President Cyril Ramaphosa will again address the nation.

“The Presidency will make the necessary announcements as and when the president is due to address the nation,” said Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

News24 understands the discussion is about lifting the alcohol ban before 15 February.

The state of disaster will have to be extended on 15 February.

The ban was implemented to ease the strain on South Africa’s health services as a second wave of infections engulfed the country towards the end of last year.

“Health Services in several parts of the country have reported that the prohibition of alcohol sales had significantly reduced the amount of trauma cases seen in our hospitals over the New Year period,” Ramaphosa said in his last national address on 11 January, when he announced that the alcohol ban would remain in place.

However, there has also been a significant economic impact, with the liquor and hospitality industry complaining the ban has been calamitous.

South African Breweries (SAB) has cancelled R5 billion’s worth of investments in the country since the prohibition was first instituted and recently suspended the contracts of 550 temporary workers indefinitely.

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