South Africa’s liquor industry calls for alcohol ban to be lifted, calls for urgent meeting with government

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Through Sihle Mlambo Jul 21, 2021

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Johannesburg – The alcohol industry in South Africa has called for the alcohol ban to be lifted while calling on the government to meet with them urgently and discuss the impact of last week’s riots on industry.

The liquor industry said more than 160 liquor outlets and distribution centers were looted and damaged in violent and deadly riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week, as thousands of people looted shops and damaged infrastructure worth billions of rand.

Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) chief executive Patricia Pillay said she called on the government to lift the alcohol ban, saying a continued ban would threaten the livelihoods of more a million people supported by the industry.

In the letter to Minister of Commerce Ebrahim Patel, stakeholders from alcohol companies, including BASA, the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) and VINPRO, wish to discuss the impact of the ban on the industry. as well as the violent events of the past week. .

“The latest four-week ban is estimated to put 9,206 alcohol industry jobs at risk, with a potential loss of R 10.2 billion in taxes and excise duties.

“This follows the three previous bans which resulted in the loss of over 7,400 jobs in the beer industry alone, as well as R14.2 billion in beer sales revenue and over R7.8 billion. loss of taxes and excise duties, ”Pillay said.

The alcohol industry said the ban bleed jobs, such as at the Aegir Brewery, which was initially able to employ up to 60 people and open a restaurant, but was forced to lay off 12 people as a result. direct from the ban.

The ones that remained on the books of the companies were now short-term and short-paid. Aegir Brewery owner Rory Lancellas said of the impact: “We went from a fivefold increase in the number of our employees to identifying the most vulnerable staff, who had families and backgrounds. children so that we can prioritize their income over others.

“We can’t take this any longer. I also have children. It is very difficult to see families go through this.

“At OR Tambo International, the airport’s craft breweries have halved their workforce of 100 because of the bans.

Head brewer Phumelo Marali said the industry has been forced to return home to Gqeberha.

“The sad thing is that we have older people working in the kitchens as chefs and catering assistants. If our business closes completely, they won’t find work anywhere else because it’s very difficult to get hired at 55 or 60.

“The pandemic and the alcohol bans have really deprived them of the ability to support their families,” he said.

The industry said it chose to go public after making numerous attempts to meet with the minister, all of which were ignored. They said the illicit alcohol trade is now worth over R20 billion.

“The mass looting of alcohol outlets and vending machines last week in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has served to further stimulate the illegal sale of alcohol, making the current ban even more absurd,” he said. Pillay said.

IOL approached the dti for comment, but had yet to hear from them.

IOL


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