SAB: Unfair to attribute rise in trauma cases to reintroduction of alcohol sales

The liquor industry said that they were open to the retail of alcohol being better regulated but needed assistance to stay afloat.

FILE: Customers queue outside the Ultra Liquors in Wynberg, Cape Town following the relaxation of alcohol sale restrictions on 1 June 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

DURBAN - The liquor industry said that they were open to the retail of alcohol being better regulated but needed assistance to stay afloat.

It was reported at the weekend that the industry wanted R5 billion in excise taxes for June and July to be deferred to a later stage. Many outlets argued that they could not afford to pay if they were not trading.

Hellen Ndlovu of South African Breweries said that the business impacted 250,000 workers across its value chain.

Ndlovu said that it was concerning that a decision affecting these people’s livelihoods was announced overnight without prior notice.

“We were nearing 100% production capacity towards the end of the month of June, and we have now had to revert to just the bare minimum to keep the lights on,” she said.

Ndlovu said that it was unfair to attribute the rise in trauma cases to the reintroduction of the sale of alcohol.

“We have written to the Department of Health as well as Cogta to ask for clarity around the decision as well as the data that informed the decision. We are expecting a response this week,” Ndlovu said.

She said that the availability of alcohol had not gone away and there was a thriving illicit trade market, which was robbing the country of much-needed revenue.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.