Lockdown sees SA wine industry losing R200m a week on exports

At present, South Africa is the only wine-producing country globally that is not allowed to export.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's wine industry loses R200 million weekly on exports.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week announced that the transportation of wine from cellar to ports was banned as part of amendments to COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

Under initial lockdown rules, the transportation of wine was allowed.

At present, South Africa is the only wine-producing country globally that is not allowed to export.

Vinpro executive director, Rico Basson, said that there was no consultation with the sector ahead of the announcement.

"We got a directive on Thursday afternoon at 3pm to say: 'Stop everything.' On Friday morning we had to once again inform our international market that we cannot supply. We have been lobbying extensively. On Friday, we sought legal counsel and I still do not have an answer which is very difficult to explain to producers and workers out there."

Basson stressed that the financial pressure at a farming level was mounting.

"We have 40,000 farmworkers with three or four dependants, which makes 160,000 people that at the moment our producers are still paying because a lot of those workers are permanent in our case but no business can last without cash flow for six weeks."

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