By: Natasha Archary
The country’s alcohol industry is reeling after a further 550 temporary employees at the biggest beer brewery had their employment terminated as a result of the alcohol ban.
South African Breweries (SAB) has since decided to take government to court and challenge the constitutionality of the latest ban on alcohol.
Since March 2020, the country has had two alcohol bans which shut down the alcohol industry forcing 165 000 out of jobs. SAB launched an urgent interdict in the Western Cape High Court calling for the ban to be lifted, giving government two weeks to respond.
In January President Ramaphosa extended the Level 3 lockdown amid the rapid rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. He reasoned that alcohol consumption was putting a high strain on both public and private health care facilities, increasing volumes of casualties in the trauma units.
This meant healthcare workers were caught in a dilemma of treating severe COVID-19 patients or tending to the trauma cases. Alcohol was linked to destructive behavior, poor judgement, high road accidents and an increase in domestic abuse.
Independent crafter breweries were on the brink of closure, according to Bloomberg and the country’s winemakers were also dealing with revenue losses of more than R18 billion.
The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) and Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA) said the situation is dire, with 30% of local breweries shutting their doors permanently.