The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) has rejected the government’s decision to extend the ban on the sale of alcohol and has warned that many small businesses in the sector will simply not survive the ban.
The group said that 30% of local breweries have already been forced to permanently shut their doors and 165,000 people have already lost their jobs.
“An extended ban on alcohol will destroy many of the remaining small businesses while doing untold economic damage to the beer sector in general, and the 415,000 livelihoods it supports.
“Over 100,000 people have already slid into poverty because of the alcohol ban in the beer industry alone.”
Basa said it is aware of the immense pressure Covid-19 has placed on our healthcare system and the need for urgent interventions to curb the spread of Covid-19. However, this cannot be at the expense of people’s livelihoods, it said.
Our members, especially small business owners and their employees, now have no way to put food on the table, and care for their loved ones who may also fall ill.
“We are also deeply concerned that the legitimate beer sector will never recover from this extended ban, providing a further boost to those who engaged in the illicit manufacture and trade of alcohol.
“Already prior to Covid-19, World Health Organisation estimates indicated that a quarter (24%) of all alcohol consumed in South Africa was sold illicitly. We believe that illicit trading will now increase as criminal syndicates begin to entrench themselves, just as Al Capone did in prohibition-era America.”
The association said that it will be requesting an urgent meeting with the Presidency and various Ministries to unpack the rationale being used for the extension of the ban and its implications for the beer sector.
“We will also resubmit our proposals to encourage moderate, responsible consumption. We will also reiterate our proposal for off-site consumption trade to be resumed within the framework of the existing curfew, restriction on gatherings and events,” it said.
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