By Kaya 959 News
Three major players in the alcohol industry are demanding to meet with Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel following the looting of over 160 liquor outlets and distribution centres in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) along with the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) and VINPRO are calling for the alcohol ban to be lifted so that legal businesses can operate, to avoid a possible collapse of the industry and the million livelihoods it supports.
“It is estimated that the latest four-week ban has put 9 206 jobs in the alcohol industry at risk, with a potential loss of R10.2 billion in taxes and excise duties.
“This follows the three previous bans which resulted in over 7400 jobs lost in the beer industry alone as well as R14.2 billion in lost beer sales revenue and more than a R7.8 billion loss in taxes and excise duties,” BASA said in a statement.
It said it has also been inundated with stories from craft brewers whose businesses have been devastated by the latest ban, just as they were slowly getting back on their feet following the previous three bans.
“This includes Aegir Brewery in Noordhoek, which was established in 2015 and had been thriving before the Covid-19 lockdown and prohibition of alcohol. The brewery had expanded its staff complement of 12 to 60 people and opened a second restaurant in Constantia,” BASA said.
As a result of the bans, the new restaurant closed permanently putting 6 people out of work.
Since then a further 12 workers have been retrenched, while the remaining staff members have been forced to work on short time and short pay.
According to chief brewer Phumelo Marali, he has been forced to go and stay with family in Gqeberha as a result of not earning an income over the past few weeks.
“The sad thing is that we have elderly people who work in the kitchens as chefs and catering assistants. If our company closes completely, they will not get a job anywhere else, as it is very hard to be hired at the age of 55 or 60. The pandemic and alcohol bans have really robbed them of their opportunity to provide for their families,” Marali said.