SAB to “approach the courts” concerning alcohol re-ban and the efforts of the #ResponsibleTogether campaign

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South African Breweries (SAB) plans to take the government to court over the latest alcohol ban to challenge the Constitutionality.

On Thursday, the major brewery company released a statement explaining their intentions.

“Whilst SAB supports all lawful measures that curb the spread of the pandemic, including an earlier curfew to limit movement, reduced indoor and outdoor capacity at gatherings, measured alcohol restrictions by channel, and heightened law enforcement, we strongly disagree 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.”
The statement continued to say that over 165 000 people have lost their jobs, with a further 100 000 people moving into poverty.

SAB has also approached the government with alternative options: restrictions on trade channels (taverns moving from on- to off-premise trading; trading days and hours to remain restricted for off-premise outlets. These alternatives were not taken into account, states the SAB.

“The SAB firmly believes that the above-proposed limitations coupled with an earlier curfew would have been reasonable and effective in supporting the healthcare system and would help to mitigate transmission of the virus while still preserving livelihoods and keeping the economy open.”

In an effort to promote their renewed Responsible Together Campaign, a letter from SAB had allegedly been sent to many influencers, asking them to post about the campaign, using the following four priority arguments, along with the hashtag #alcoholban:

  • The R2 billion worth in lost tax revenue and how the funds could have been used to acquire much-needed vaccines for approximately 30% of the South African population
  • The fact that the alcohol industry’s lost taxes from all three bans could cover 100% of the costs of vaccinations in the country
  • The number of people who have lost their jobs, including those entering poverty and how they have no resources to sustain their livelihoods
  • One day after the ban, trauma units and hospitals were claimed to be empty. The reason for the emptiness is not due to the alcohol ban, but rather the effect of the curfew, heightened law enforcement and moratorium of gatherings

While influencers took to social media and stated the above-mentioned, #alcoholban was trending on Twitter earlier today with almost 16 000 tweets. Many South Africans have voiced mixed opinions . . .