The Western Cape government says that it has written to Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform minister Thoko Didiza, to request her assistance in lifting the third national ban on wine and other liquor sales.
Western Cape MEC Ivan Meyer said sales should be allowed in line with the “differentiated approach” envisaged during the president’s speech of 14 December 2020.
“The Western Cape Government accepted the restrictions that were announced by the President as the last resort in order to protect our healthcare system during an unprecedented surge and over a period of time when alcohol-related trauma was expected to spike.
“We, however, argued that it should be for fourteen days only and reviewed every seven days thereafter, based on scientific evidence.
“Now nearly a month after the restrictions came into place, we believe that the evidence clearly points to the need to relax these restrictions in order to save jobs,” he said.
Meyer said that the first two weeks of the ban cost the Western Cape R1 billion. This has impacted 1,893 direct jobs in the retail sector and 905 induced and indirect jobs across the value chain resulting in 2,798 jobs being compromised.
If the ban continues for the full month, which it now seems likely to do, it will end up costing the economy R2 billion, impacting 5,596 jobs in the province.
To this end, Meyer said that he asked for the support of Didiza in changing the regulations as follows:
- Alcohol sales be permitted offsite from Monday to Thursday, and not permitted on the weekend;
- Alcohol sales be permitted at wine farms on the weekend, as this is the time when most visitors come to wine farms. Such sales are critical for the survival of wine tourism in the Western Cape;
- Onsite alcohol consumption be allowed. If restaurants cannot sell alcohol with dinner service, they will not remain profitable and will be forced to close. This will result in many job losses.