SAB: Alcohol ban infringes on the rights of South Africans

South African Breweries is going to court to challenge government’s alcohol sales ban.


JOHANNESBURG - South African Breweries (SAB) said its approach to the courts was the last resort to save all the livelihoods it supported.

SAB is going to court to challenge government’s alcohol sales ban.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ban under level 3 of the lockdown.

Since then, there has been an apparent ease in pressure on the health care system.

READ: Level 3 lockdown, alcohol ban has led to drop in trauma unit cases

SAB said government was infringing on the right of South Africans to enjoy a beer safely in the comfort of their homes.

In a statement on Wednesday, the company said it strongly disagreed with the introduction of yet another outright ban on the sale of alcohol.

“SAB believes that any ban, including the current one goes far beyond what is reasonable and necessary to contain the spread of the virus and unlawfully restricts various rights that are enshrined and protected by our constitution. These include the right to freedom of trade, the right to human dignity, privacy, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity.”

“Challenging the constitutionality of the ban, which removes the South African public’s right as adults to responsibly consume a beer safely in the privacy of their own homes, is an integral part of SAB’s action. The damage to the South African economy and impact on the alcohol value chain arising from ban on the sale of alcohol is, in SAB’s view, disproportional and unlawful. “

It said a balanced approach was vital to ensure the safety of South Africans, while simultaneously supporting the economy.

Meanwhile, Lucky Ntimane from the South African Liquor Traders Association said it was not known what would happen to the 250,000 jobs that were on the line

“We are essentially calling to be allowed to operate as off premises, which means that people will be allowed to do takeaways over a seven-day period, so that we can close off the gap that allows the illicit sale of liquor to thrive.

"So if we are operating over a seven-day period, it means liquor will be available over a seven-day period from a legal source.”

SAB has argued that restricting the legal trade of alcohol fuelled the growth of the illicit market - resulting in devastating consequences from both a health and economic perspective.

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