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The beer industry in South Africa is pleading with President Ramaphosa to lift the ban on alcohol. Otherwise, the industry will face a troublesome future.

On 28 December 2020, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, moved the country onto Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown. This included suspending the delivery and sales of alcohol, which has put the industry under immense stress.

In response, the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) has released a statement to the president, pleading with him to lift the ban as from 16 January 2021.

BASA has said that craft breweries and small business owners who rely on the sale of booze are standing on the precipice. Many will have to close their doors, forcing their employees and themselves to join the approximately 7,400 people who lost their jobs during the previous bans.

The beer industry lost R14.2 billion in sales revenue during 2020 as Covid-19 swept through a locked-down South Africa. This translated to over R7.4 billion in tax and excise duties lost for the country.

CEO of the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa, Wendy Pienaar, says; "The third ban is devastating to craft brewers, who are small business 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 and food to eat this month".

South African tavern and shabeen owners have also requested the State to allow off-site liquor sales, claiming that 100,000 people could lose their livelihood.

BASA agrees with the current curfew of 21:00 to 06:00, with businesses closing at 20:00, but has requested that licenced operators be allowed to resume the selling of alcohol. 

Their statement reads; "BASA remains aware of the severity of the crisis we face as a 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".

Image: Adobe Stock

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