Liquor traders seek financial assistance, meeting with government

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The National Liquor Traders Council and Liquor Traders Association of South Africa have called for financial assistance from government for tavern and shebeen permit holders to the value of R20 000 per outlet. Picture: Bertram Malgas/News24
The National Liquor Traders Council and Liquor Traders Association of South Africa have called for financial assistance from government for tavern and shebeen permit holders to the value of R20 000 per outlet. Picture: Bertram Malgas/News24

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The National Liquor Traders Council and Liquor Traders Association of South Africa have called for financial assistance from government for tavern and shebeen permit holders to the value of R20 000 per outlet, "to cushion against the blow of the continued ban."

The call follows the continued ban on alcohol sales which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on December 28 last year and came into effect on December 29.

This was according to a statement released by the organisations on Saturday afternoon in which liquor traders have also called on Ramaphosa “to urgently meet with the alcohol industry to end the alcohol ban and allow for the resumption of alcohol sales with immediate effect”.

“The continued ban on alcohol sales continues to wreak havoc in the sector and looks set to condemn thousands of livelihoods into poverty whilst the future of taverns remains in doubt,” read the statement.

Read: ‘Taverns may never recover from alcohol ban’

The organisations stressed that they and liquor traders have always supported government’s efforts to fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and added that they would continue to do so through “our industry-funded tavern compliance programme which seeks to educate liquor traders on best practices for complying with Covid-19 regulations and by extension encourage consumers to observe and practice Covid-19 compliance protocols in their communities”.

Ramaphosa said in December that the country was at an “extremely dangerous” point in its fight against the pandemic and immediate, decisive action was required.

Ramaphosa last week then extended the lockdown ban, which will be reviewed before or on February 15.

Convener of the Liquor Traders Formation, Lucky Ntimane said, “Our call to the president is to immediately convene a meeting with the alcohol industry with a view to unbanning alcohol and allow normalcy to return so the lives and livelihoods of the liquor traders, their families and the 250 000 workers dependent on the tavern sector can resume.”

Read: Booze ban leaves tavern owners conflicted over illicit alcohol sales

“We are equally concerned that the alcohol ban is having a negative impact on the [country’s economy] and further dent its image as an investment destination.”

Ntimane’s statement comes at the back of an announcement by South African Breweries (SAB) on Friday that it had cancelled R2.5 billion worth of capital investment into the country following government’s third ban on alcohol sales, bringing the brewer’s cancelled capital expenditure in the country to R5 billion since the first alcohol ban was introduced in March last year.

Read: Alcohol ban: SAB halts R5bn investment in SA

Ntimane said: “The withdrawal of R2.5 billion worth of investment into the country by SAB’s parent company AB InBev has major implications on the future growth prospects of the alcohol industry and its value chain and even more detrimental to the job preservation and creation agenda espoused by the president.”

“The alcohol industry has already lost an estimated R25 billion and counting due to the three bans and if the status quo remains we are on course to shed a record number of jobs.”

A letter seen by City Press dated January 16, addressed to the president, from the organisations, in which they request for a meeting was, according to the president’s spokesperson Tyrone Seale, received by the office of the presidency he told City Press.

He did not indicate if any engagements have taken place or if a meeting would be scheduled.

In the letter, the coalition, “which represents a very high proportion of township-based (small businesses) taverns and bottle stores as well as independently owned retail liquor traders throughout South Africa” has called for, among other things:
  • Liquor traders be compensated for stock that expires;
  • The off-site consumption of liquor; and
  • Ongoing UIF TERS support whilst the ban is place.



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Palesa Dlamini 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
palesa.dlamini@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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