The liquor industry says the government has lost almost R60 billion in tax from the sector due to the liquor trading ban.

The industry is urging the government to reverse the ban in order for the sector to survive. The sale of liquor was banned for the third time on the 28th of December 2020.

This means 18 weeks of no trading since the initial ban in March 2020.

The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) has raised concerns that over 85% of craft brewers are at risk of shutting down permanently. Meanwhile, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) says 40-50% of their businesses may not survive this ban.

Lucky Ntimane from the Liquor Traders Council says the industry is on the verge of collapse.

“The alcohol industry, in terms of excise duties, pay the government R5.5 billion every second month and that is the amount that the industry has actually written a letter to the Minister of Finance asking that they not pay this because we are not operating. So, there isn’t any money to be paid. If you look at the tax revenue that is generated by the liquor industry to government, that number is sitting at R60 billion if you look at the company tax, as well as the excise and VAT. These are big numbers, you know, and we feel, had we been allowed to trade in a responsible manner, our actions would have contributed to government funding the vaccines,” says Ntimane.