Lockdown | EFF enters brewing alcohol ban fray, sends legal letter to Cyril Ramaphosa

accreditation

The EFF has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa over a Gauteng Liquor Forum threat to go to the Constitutional Court if lockdown regulations currently in effect continue to prohibit the sale of alcohol.

The forum, which claims to represent 20 000 liquor businesses, made the threat over the weekend.

READ | Forum threatens to take ban of alcohol sales to Constitutional Court

Last month, the president announced a 21-day national lockdown as part of the government's bid to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. It has since been extended by two weeks until the end of April.

Several liquor stores have been looted since the lockdown came into effect.

READ MORE | More liquor looting as 3 arrested in Stellenbosch

On Monday evening, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that there were 2 272 positive cases in South Africa so far and 27 deaths.

By Tuesday morning, about 1.9 million people were infected globally.

Public consultations

The forum, which gave the president until Tuesday to amend the regulations, said its members' businesses were being "crippled" by the ban and suggested that should be allowed to operate for limited hours. Over the past week, liquor outlets in different parts of the country were looted.

In a letter to the Presidency, written by law firm Ian Levitt Attorneys, the EFF expressed its "disagreement" with the liquor forum and has asked to make representations in the matter.

The party, which cited the behaviour of alcohol consumers as concerning, said no public consultations had gone into deciding where restrictions on the sale of alcohol should be amended.

"It is not in the public interest to lift the ban at this stage," lawyer Ian Levitt said on behalf of the red berets.

"The EFF believes that the health rights of South Africans cannot simply be sacrificed at the altar of commercial interests of the alcohol distributors," he continued.

The party said it was concerned that the removal, amendment or dismissal of the regulations and operation of shebeens and taverns would eliminate the purpose of the national lockdown.

"Alcohol consumers will be entitled to 'gather', buy and consume alcohol, and the risk of spread of the virus will exacerbate tenfold. It will also be difficult to enforce the lockdown when people have consumed alcohol," the letter read.

It also cited a lack of fairness to other small businesses which would remain unable to operate during the lockdown which are also struggling.

"They are not clamouring for the lifting of the lockdown, presumably because they accept the need for sacrifices to be made. If the government is concerned about the effect of the ban on the interests of small businesses," wrote the EFF's lawyer.

The party warned that the relaxation of this particular regulation could result in a "Pandora's box" being opened, with other small non-essential businesses seeking the same relief.


- Stay up to date and stay healthy. Subscribe to Health24’s Daily Dose newsletter for important updates on the spread of the coronavirus. Register and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1038 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 5768 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1211 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.42
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.46
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
18.92
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.29
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.3%
Platinum
1,009.25
+0.8%
Palladium
1,651.07
+0.9%
Gold
1,927.51
+0.2%
Silver
23.70
+0.4%
Brent Crude
84.90
-2.1%
Top 40
73,431
-1.2%
All Share
79,477
-1.1%
Resource 10
75,833
-2.8%
Industrial 25
102,289
-0.4%
Financial 15
16,145
-1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE