Oct 19, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Alcohol ban: ‘A hammer to the legal liquor industry’

South African liquor traders have described the latest alcohol ban under Lockdown Level 4 as a “hammer blow” to the legal industry and a boon for illegal liquor traders which have mushroomed during the alcohol recent bans.

Reacting to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the latest alcohol ban which kicks in on Monday 28 June, the National Liquor Traders said it takes exception to the banning of alcohol without consultation with tavern owners, who will be deprived of an income without any financial safety net.

“Once again, a decision has been made that will have dire consequences for our members without us being given an opportunity to propose alternative solutions,” said National Liquor Traders convenor Lucky Ntimane.

“This comes as a hammer blow to some of our struggling members. We appreciate the severity of the situation and the urgent need to bring the third wave of COVID-19 under control, but we don’t believe banning alcohol is the most effective approach. It will simply fuel the illicit trade in alcohol, which is already booming because of the previous bans,” Ntimane said.

“Taverners have made a huge effort to ensure maximum compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols and to follow liquor licence conditions to the letter. All of this hard work will now be undone as illegal operators step in to profit from the ban,” he added.

“While we are bitterly disappointed by the announcement, we hope we can work with the government on a more sustainable approach that doesn’t punish legitimate businesses while rewarding unscrupulous criminal syndicates,” Ntimane said.

The ban will be in effect for the next two weeks until 11 July 2021. In addition to the alcohol ban, all restaurants have been ordered to close, although they may provide take-away meals, and the curfew has been extended from 9pm to 4am.