Alcohol ban: Liquor traders losing an estimated R300m a day

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People working in the restaurant industry protests against the South African lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Gallo Images/Nardus Engelbrecht)
People working in the restaurant industry protests against the South African lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Gallo Images/Nardus Engelbrecht)
  • Liquor traders are losing an estimated R300 million daily due to the ban on the sale of alcohol.
  • Spirits producing company Diageo's Sibani Mngadi said the data government used to ban the sale of liquor, did not include hospitals built in the past 20 years.
  • Mngadi said they were consulting with government about the possibility of lifting the ban again.

Liquor traders are losing an estimated R300 million daily due to the ban on the sale of alcohol.

Spirits producing company Diageo's director for corporate relations Sibani Mngadi revealed this during a public dialogue by female alcohol traders in Soweto on Friday.  

Mngadi said the data government used to justify the ban on liquor sales didn't include hospitals built in the past 20 years.

"A number of people visiting hospital trauma units are not tested for alcohol consumption. Gauteng Premier David Makhura has reported bed occupancy of 57% and Western Cape has reached its peak and it is beginning to decline and doing that at 70%, according to the report by Premier Alan Winde.

"We think government should begin to look at [the effect on people's] livelihoods because it is becoming clear that at least from the current situation, lives have been able to be saved.

"For us as manufacturers, it was difficult in the beginning and we have reached out to various departments. We have reached out to Treasury about the delay of excise tax that we needed to pay for July and August," said Mngadi.

READ | Alcohol industry calls for lifting of 'devastating' booze ban

Mngadi said they were grateful that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had given them 90 days to pay those amounts which was a relief.

"We are in consultation with the Trade and Industry department to come up with proposals on how we can potentially go back to trading in a safe environment and commitments we are making in dealing with inappropriate use of alcohol.

"We understand that the issue that is facing government on drinking and driving is to process blood for prosecutions purposes. On that front, we are happy to build facilities for testing of blood so that results can be submitted for prosecutions quickly. We can to that in all provinces. All we need is to engage government and all provinces," Mngadi said.

Mngadi said they were not considering taking government to court and were standing with them in fighting Covid-19.

"We have made available 50 000 litres of pure alcohol for medical purposes by government. We think that there is no need to close the sale of alcohol because all other countries responding to Covid-19 are doing it successfully without banning the alcohol sales.

"We need to negotiate with government leaders and present our case that it needs to be reconsidered. The Medical Research Council has, a week ago, said government should prepare for the sale of alcohol," said Mngadi. 

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