Beer industry is begging President Ramaphosa to lift the alcohol ban

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The recent alcohol ban (put into place on 28 December 2020) continues to financially hurt many in the industry. Small business are struggling to survive while illicit trade makes huge profits.

According to Fin24, the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) is pleading with President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the third alcohol ban as from 16 January to ensure that small business owners and craft breweries do not have to face forced closures.

Previously, the nation saw an estimated 7 400 jobs lost, R14.2 billion in lost sales revenue and over R7.4 billion loss in taxes and excise duties occur due to the first two bans.

In a statement, BASA said that it understands the “great difficulties faced by both government and citizens as the virus spreads” and urged all to work together to save both the lives and livelihoods of the people, reports the publication.

CEO of the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA), Wendy Pienaar said, “The third ban is devastating to craft brewers, who are small business owners who work within small margins, always putting the welfare of their staff before their own.

“It is now no longer a question of keeping businesses open, it has become a question of whether business owners, their employees and families will have any food to eat this month.”

Rise in illicit tradings

The Cape Argus reports that Lucky Ntimane, convenor of the Liquor Traders Formations stated that due to the ban, “alcohol is being sold at ridiculously high prices . . . these prices are going to go up every week that we are closed.”

Ntimane continued, “We are well aware of the numbers and we are concerned but it was expected, for me and our members we are concerned about the livelihoods and some balance needs to be struck.”

He urged the government to reconsider the ban.

BASA chief executive, Patricia Pillay said, “We are concerned that another ban will further entrench the web of illicit alcohol trade as consumers look for ways around the ban.

“Already, before Covid-19, the World Health Organisation had estimated that a quarter (24%) of all alcohol consumed in South Africa was sold illicitly.”

Pillay said that the rise in illicit manufacture, trade and consumption of alcohol poses a great health risk.

“Methanol poisoning can cause blindness, liver damage and even death.

“An increase in illicit trade also means that the taxes and duties that usually accrue from the legitimate sale of alcohol are lost to the fiscus.”