Liquor traders are hoping to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the impact of the liquor ban on businesses in the sector. They are worried about the near-collapse of the industry and are seeking financial support from the government.
Lucky Ntimane , the Liquor Trader Formations’ convener who recently spoke to Kaya Breakfast, described the alcohol value chain, which includes about a million jobs supported by the industry.
“Workers amongst our 4 500 outlets in the country, this lockdown has really hit us hard. I’ve been on the ground asking my members how long they think they will last if what’s going on continues. Most were saying 7 days, after that it’s game over, in fact, we even think this might be the end of the tavern sector as we know it.”
Ntimane says the industry understands the responsibility put on the alcohol industry regarding how people should conduct themselves amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, and trading in a manner that does not create super spreader events. However, he says very little has been done to ensure the livelihoods of those who operate within the sector.
Listen to the full conversation here:
Earlier this month, the ruling party’s annual statement on 8 January included comments on the effect of the continued ban on alcohol in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, suggesting possible permanent interventions in this regard.
In delivering the statement, President Ramaphosa highlighted the impact of alcohol consumption on our society. “The temporary restrictions that were placed on the availability of alcohol under the state of disaster, regulations have demonstrated the extent to which abuse of alcohol fuels violence, trauma and reckless behaviour and places a burden on our health system and emergency services.”
SAB pulling R2.5 billion out of their investment plans
Last week, South African Breweries (SAB) announced that they would withdraw R2.5 billion from their investment plans for the coming year – just months after taking the same decision to withdraw funding, following the reintroduction of the alcohol ban. The cancelled investments relate to improvements to operating facilities, product advancement, operating systems, and the construction of new equipment at selected plants, which will directly impact job losses.
In their statement they said “Given the material impact that this third ban on the sale of alcohol has on our business and the possibility of further bans, we’ve no choice but to halt these investments for the foreseeable future. This decision will impact on the profitability of and the number of jobs created by the companies that would have worked with SAB to execute the capital investment plans.”