Tavern owners and SAB challenges constitutionality of alcohol ban

Picture: sab.co.za

Owner of Ntombi’s Tavern in Tembisa, Ntombi Sibiya joined forces with South African Breweries (SAB) to challenge the constitutionality of the alcohol ban as she like many tavern owners’ livelihoods have been impacted.

Sibiya joined forces with SAB on Tuesday, 5 January 2021 in a bid to challenge the constitutionality of the alcohol ban.

Many tavern owners like Sibiya have been affected by the third alcohol ban made by the National Command Council (NCCC) on 29 December 2020.

Feeling the severity of the ban, Sibiya has chosen to oppose the decision made by the NCCC as she realised that there was only two options at her disposal:

“At this point I have two options. I can either protect my business by fighting for the rights promised to me by our constitution, or shut down and put everyone who depends on me at risk. I have chosen to take a stand up for myself and my family”.

Sibiya stated that selling beers was her chosen profession and has been doing so legally and profitably for nearly 25 years.

Sibiya was also able to employ several people and the tavern itself became a popular ‘get together spot’ for her community. She also noted that the restrictions on alcohol has impacted her life without warning.

“The Government’s restrictions on the sale of alcohol changed my world without warning.”

At the beginning of 2020, Sibiya noticed some growth in her business as she was able to order and re-sell 2400 cases of beer per month.

Sibiya further stated that the tavern was her only source of income and is more than just a lifeline as she has seven dependents including six grand children, four of whom are still at school.

As a result of the ban, Sibiya was also forced to lay-off six of her eight employees and tap into her personal savings to keep her business afloat.

Consequently, Sibiya predicts that if restrictions on selling alcohol continues her business will be forced to close on a permanent basis, thus her only option is to fight.

“The money will soon run out and I predict that Ntombi’s Tavern will soon be unable to make ends meet. If the current alcohol ban continues, I will be forced to permanently close my life’s work. This will be devastating for my family and my remaining employees. My only option is to fight this.”

In partnership with Sibiya, SAB believes that it is the last resort to protect its employees, suppliers, customers, consumers and the many lives it supports.

SAB added that the constitution guarantees all South Africans the right to freely partake in their chosen trade or profession and legally speaking, the government should not unjustifiably make the choice to trade unlawful, undesirable, difficult or unprofitable.

SAB noted that by rendering the sale of alcohol illegal, the government has enforced Sibiya’s chosen profession unprofitable and if the restrictions persist the constitutionality of the ban needs to be proven.

“By suddenly rendering the sale of alcoholic beverages illegal, the government has rendered Sibiya’s chosen commercial pursuit unprofitable. “Should they wish to continue along this path, they need to prove to us that it is constitutional.”

SAB continues to highlight the economic impact of the alcohol ban on the industry and on small businesses, like Ntombi’s and Mam’ Joyce’s taverns. They also state that they have proposed and implemented “actionable interventions that would save both lives and livelihoods”.

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