South Africa’s alcohol industry says it is facing 11 days of restrictions over Easter

The South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) says it has submitted an urgent request for information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to the Minister of Cooperative Government, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

This is to request the information that government has used to decide on a fourth alcohol ban in the country.

The group said that the industry met with the officials of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) on Monday (29 March), where it was informed that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) is intending to ban all sales of alcohol for 11 days, starting Easter weekend.

Salba said it has given government to Wednesday (31 March 2021) to furnish this information, on which the organisation would base its next course of action.

“We hope government will be transparent and make this information available.

“We would like to understand what the rationale or evidence-based reasoning is behind an 11-day ban of alcohol sales, while at the same time increasing the maximum number of people allowed in a gathering,” said SALBA chairperson Sibani Mngadi.

Mngadi also expressed concern that the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, once again failed to meet with the industry to discuss the coming ban.

Through its National Liquor Authority division, DTIC is responsible for licensing of manufacturing and distribution of alcohol in the country.

“We have had three bans totalling 19-weeks of lost trade days with R36 billion loss in sales revenue for the industry and R29 billion loss in tax revenue for Government since the start of the lockdown this time last year.

“However, Minister Patel has only found time on one occasion to meet with industry to inform us of the third liquor ban.

“He has not responded to a series of correspondence from various organizations in the alcohol sector. We have, instead, been received by other Ministers in the NCCC, but not him,” said Mngadi.

Read: Ramaphosa to address the nation on Tuesday ahead of expected Easter lockdown

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South Africa’s alcohol industry says it is facing 11 days of restrictions over Easter