Beer industry pleads with Ramaphosa to lift ban as it struggles to survive

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The third ban is devastating to craft brewers.
The third ban is devastating to craft brewers.
Yuki Shintani / Getty

The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) has issued an urgent call to President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the blanket ban on alcohol as from 16 January. 

BASA says this step is needed to ensure the survival of small business owners of craft breweries, who now find themselves on the brink of closure.

Ramaphosa announced the third alcohol ban on 28 December 2020.

The last two alcohol bans had a devastating impact on the beer industry, with an estimated 7 400 jobs lost, R14.2 billion in lost sales revenue and more than a R7.4 billion loss in taxes and excise duties. 

"BASA remains aware of the severity of the crisis we face as nation as we battle Covid-19, and understands the great difficulties faced by both government and citizens as the virus spreads. And while we support all efforts to curb the infection rate, we need to work together to ensure that we are able to save both lives and livelihoods in this fight," its said in a statement. 

Wendy Pienaar, CEO of the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA), says the third ban on alcohol sales has had a devastating impact on the craft brewing industry. BASA has been inundated with calls from members who have been left depleted of their savings and reserves, and are now in desperate need of financial relief if they are to survive. 

"The third ban is devastating to craft brewers, who are small businesses 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," she says.

BASA maintains that the current curfew of 21:00 to 06:00 should remain in effect, along with the 20:00 closing time for businesses.

On Tuesday South Africa’s tavern and shebeen owners urged the government to reinstate off-site sales of liquor from January 16, saying that the livelihoods of 100 000 people are at stake.

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