Western Cape Premier Winde asks Ramaphosa for urgent meeting to lift beach, booze ban

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Malherbe Nienaber/Netwerk24
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa for an urgent meeting to discuss the lifting of the beach and alcohol ban.
  • Winde says it is to avoid an economic disaster in the province. 
  • His proposals include shortening the curfew, and reintroducing alcohol sales between Monday and Thursday.  

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa for an urgent meeting of the President's Coordinating Council to discuss the lifting of the beach and booze ban.

Winde says this is to avoid an "economic disaster" in the province.

READ | Lockdown: Alcohol ban remains

According to Winde, the number of Covid-19 cases in the province is declining, and the health facilities are positioned to cope with the current number of cases. 

His proposals include shortening the curfew, reintroducing Monday to Thursday alcohol sales, on-site alcohol consumption and wine farm alcohol sales on the weekend. 

READ | Beaches, booze and border posts: Here are 8 takeouts as Ramaphosa keeps SA on Level 3 lockdown

"Throughout this pandemic, we have argued for getting the balance right in saving both lives and jobs, and we have not hesitated to take action in getting that balance right over the last year," said Winde. 

"The reality is that the balance is not being achieved currently, and the president needs to use the differentiated approach to help save jobs in the Western Cape and those provinces that have clearly passed their peak."

Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said: "The Presidency has received Premier Winde's request and this matter is under consideration."

In backing up his request, Winde cited these research findings:
  • If the ban continues for a full month, it will cost the Western Cape's economy R2 billion and would affect 5 596 jobs;
  • Nearly 30% of restaurants surveyed have closed temporarily or permanently, based on data from the Restaurant Association of South Africa;
  • Wine grapes represent 50.3% of the 181 233ha under production in the Western Cape, and the replacement value of these wine grapes amount to R33.94-billion; 
  • The Western Cape's Department of Agriculture estimates that 45 610 people work in the primary production side of the wine industry and it supports 228 053 people;
  • Based on the province's tourism multiplier model, which has been used in the Western Cape's research for many years, the continued beach ban is costing the sector over R120 million per month. Some 12.8% of the annual eight million visitors indicate beach visits as their top activity. 
  • Almost all the top attractions in the Western Cape indicated a more than 60% drop in visitors over the peak tourism season;
  • Market data on the hotel industry reports hotel occupancy levels in the Western Cape were at 32.7% in December 2020, compared to 68.1% in December 2019;
  • In Cape Town, 5-star hotel occupancy levels were at 29% in December 2020, 4-star hotel accommodation at 34% and 3-star hotel occupancy at 31% occupancy;
  • Traffic volumes have decreased by up to 27% on South Africa's major highways, indicating a drop in domestic travel;
  • The domestic terminal at Cape Town International Airport saw only 51% of the volume of travellers compared with December 2019;
  • One-third of guesthouses on the Garden Route indicated at least 50% of festive season cancellations; 
  • An SA Tourism Survey (December 2020) found that 58% of tourism and hospitality businesses were unable to service their debts and 61% of businesses were unable to cover fixed costs in October 2020. This was before the Alert Level 3 restrictions were announced in December.

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