Liquor ban will affect close to 1 million people's livelihoods

The liquor industry lost R18 billion in revenue during the previous nine-week ban.

The liquor industry has released a combined media statement condemning the sudden ban of alcohol saying it would impact the livelihoods of close one million people in the alcohol value chain. The South African alcohol industry including the National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA), the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), Vinpro, the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) and manufacturers said they were disappointed and were still recalling from the impact of the nine-week lockdown in which the alcohol industry lost R18 billion in revenue and R3.4 billion in excise tax.

“Government’s decision has serious economic consequences, placing hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at risk. The hardest hit will be a significant number of smaller retailers and taverners. The immediate enforcement of the ban will have other unintended consequences which include further job losses throughout the value chain,” reads the statement, which also said that the ban would only serve to fuel the growth of the illicit market and creates security concerns for liquor outlets.

The alcohol industry said it has engaged continuously with Government and especially the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) over the past month regarding the efforts put in place to ensure compliance with regulations (limited trading days and hours) as well as adherence to the safety protocols in formal retail and taverns.

“Despite these engagements, the industry was given no warning about the ban, nor an opportunity to consult with the National Coronavirus Command Centre (NCCC) before a decision was made and no consideration was given to the immediate logistical difficulties it poses for both suppliers, distributors and retailers alike.”