Liquor traders at risk of losing licences if they contravene lockdown regulations

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KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC, Ravi Pillay has warned liquor traders that they risk losing their licences if they contravene the lockdown regulations under which the sale of alcohol is prohibited.

This warning comes amid reports that some liquor outlets have continued selling alcohol despite the ban. Pillay says in the past the provincial liquor authority had suspended licences for between one and three months.

The MEC says, “Stricter sanctions apply because of the severity of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, persons who are found trading in liquor illegally will also be entered into a database so that their actions are taking into consideration if they make applications for trading licences in the future. The primary aim of these regulations is to save lives by controlling the spread of infections.”

Meanwhile, the Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) say while they acknowledge the severity of the COVID-19 second wave and the immense pressure on the healthcare system, they do not agree with the blanket alcohol ban announced by the President on Monday night.

The video below is reporting that alcohol sale and distribution is prohibited:

Basa CEO Patricia Pillay says the previous two bans had a devastating impact on the beer industry with 7 400 job losses, R14.2 billion lost in sales revenues and 30% of breweries being forced to shut their doors.

She says government also lost 7.4% in taxes and excise duties that could have been used in the fight against COVID-19.

In the video below, Basa laments the alcohol ban, saying it will cost jobs and increase illicit sales:

The South Africa Liquor Brand Association (SALBA) has also expressed concern over the total shutdown of liquor sales, saying the ban is an opportunity for illegal alcohol trade to go ahead.

SALBA’s spokesperson Sibani Mngadi says, “It has been proven that during level 5 and 4 illegal traders, syndicates started selling and that is the area we are concerned about. We would have wished that they [government] would have given limited opportunity for people to purchase liquor legally.”