On Monday, 28 December 2020, the President announced that there would a ban on alcohol to not only save lives but to also reduce people's reckless behaviour. The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) believes that this decision will negatively impact South Africa's economy.
The country is currently under lockdown level 3 regulations which means the sale of alcohol is prohibited.
Basa understands the severity of the second wave of COVID-19 infections and the amount of pressure healthcare workers are currently under, however, they do not think that banning alcohol was the way to decrease the number of infections or reduce the pressure on the healthcare system.
Patricia Pillay, Basa CEO, stated that the previous bans negatively impacted the beer industry as there were 7 400 job losses, R14.2 billion lost in sales revenues and 30% of breweries were forced to shut down.
Pillay made a point to state that the government lost 7.4% in taxes and excise duties which could have been utilised in the fight against the virus.
“This third ban will do untold economic damage to the 415 000 livelihoods the sector supports. There is much that the industry and government can do to encourage moderate responsible consumption and to penalise those who break the rules,” says Basa CEO.
The association believes that a ban on alcohol sales will do "more harm than good". Which is why they will not give up and continue to engage with the government on what needs to be done to save the livelihoods of many South Africans and save even more lives.
The South Africa Liquor Brand Association (SALBA) communicated their concern regarding the total shutdown of liquor sales. They believe that the ban is an opportunity for illegal alcohol trade to take place.
“It has been proven that during level 5 and 4 illegal traders, syndicates started selling and that is the area we are concerned about. We would have wished that they [government] would have given a limited opportunity for people to purchase liquor legally,” said SALBA’s spokesperson Sibani Mngadi.