Struggling alcohol sector pleads for lifting of ban on booze sales

Business

Johannesburg – The alcohol industry has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift restrictions on the sale of alcohol, saying it cannot continue to endure a double pandemic of Covid-19 and poverty.

The National Liquor Traders (NTL), representing 39, 000 township-based taverns, shebeens and bottle stores, wrote to Ramaphosa over the weekend pleading for the lifting of the ban.

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met yesterday to assess developments in the Covid-19 pandemic and the national response to this challenge.

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (Saapa SA) urged the government to allow access to alcohol through off-consumption sales, while retaining the suspension of non-consumption trading, which it said “is clearly the best option”.

NTL convener Lucky Ntimane said the devastation of the current ban on alcohol had ripped families apart, consigning dignified families to a life on the streets.

Ntimane said the whole value chain of the alcohol industry was on the brink of collapse. He said the restaurant sector was bleeding, evidenced by the fact that a company like Sun International was laying off 14 000 workers while Consol glass was losing R8 million a day.

“This cannot be allowed to continue, Mr President,” said Ntimane.

“We need our lives back, Mr President. Allow us to trade in a more responsible manner, like we have done in the past.”

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