Alcohol industry calls for end to current booze ban ahead of President's address

The alcohol industry has said the fourth alcohol ban has resulted in about 200,000 jobs being affected and a R1.5 billion revenue loss for the country.

FILE: SAB beer crates are being gathered as the Fenyane Bottle store prepares for alcohol sales to resume on 18 August 2020. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm. Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni. Picture: Sthembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – The alcohol industry has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow retailers to resume full operations as he's set to address the nation on Sunday night.

The sector said the fourth alcohol ban has resulted in about 200,000 jobs being affected and a R1.5 billion revenue loss for the country.

READ: Ramaphosa to address the nation on Sunday, says Ntshavheni

The National Liquor Traders Council has said the recent widespread looting of stock has added to major losses already suffered.

Its convener Lucky Ntimane said traders should be allowed to open their doors to pick up the pieces.

“The latest four-week alcohol ban that the taverns and the broader alcohol industry have been subjected to has been the hardest yet. Over and above the 20 weeks of non-trading that we endured with the previous three bans combined. We have yet to see the evidence that the decisions to ban alcohol were based on science, or even common sense.”

At the same time, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa has said limiting access to Gauteng has been devasting for the job market.

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It's chief executive officer Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said the President should change the regulations as a matter of urgency.

“We should realise that Gauteng has 60% of travel activities that are domestic-related, and it's a hub where many people that are coming here from many countries that are our source markets that pass through Gauteng.

Therefore, we believe, when the President makes the announcement, he is going to lift the ban on interprovincial travel – especially when it relates to Gauteng.”

Gauteng has recorded a gradual decrease in the number of new infections, with 3,670 cases picked up in the last 24 hours.

Ramaphosa is expected to address the country on Sunday night on the latest lockdown restriction decisions, as the current restrictions expire at midnight.

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