The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) says it is taking legal advice on government’s decision to impose a curfew from 9pm to 4am and also the suspension on the sale of alcohol.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that the sale and distribution of alcohol have again been banned in an effort to reduce the flow of trauma patients to hospitals during the COVID-19 peak.

RASA’s Chief Executive, Wendy Alberts, says they are putting together a lawsuit, to claim compensation because they cannot make use of their liquor licences.

“The news of not having the possibility of doing any liquor trading as well as the restrictions has been a blow. It also affects delivery and takeaways as well, so the curfew has a massive impact on the restaurants’ ability to sustain themselves. Having said this it is going on now for several months that we have not been able to use our liquor licences. We are putting a lawsuit together with the various liquor boards to claim compensation for the non-use of those licences.”

Convenor of the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa, Lucky Ntimane says government’s announcement caught them off-guard: 

 

Protests 

Tavern and shebeen owners in Port Elizabeth have braved cold and wet weather conditions to picket outside the African National Congress’ Florence Matomela House to protest against the ban on alcohol sales during the lockdown.

The protesters handed over a petition signed by licenced tavern owners. Their demands include being informed well in advance on decisions that will impact their businesses.

Chairperson of the Concerned Township Licenced Liquor Traders Lunga Magxaka says the governing party should help them fight for their livelihoods.

In Durban, liquor outlet owners and consumers staged minor protests in and around the city. Dheven Govindasami from private security firm- PT Tactical says they are stepping up security at liquor outlets.

He says some owners are also moving alcohol stock to more secure venues, fearing looting.

“ There were some customers in the Isipingo, Umlazi areas where they were not willing to accept what the President had said. We had to intervene and bring calm to the situation. A lot of tavern owners and liquor store owners are a bit upset because they never expected this to come back to haunt them. But many are also happy because they well stocked up and the illicit prices of alcohol will skyrocket. There have been customers forcing their way through trying to get orders and stores have been forced to shut down and remove stocks due to the fear of looting.”

Stolen liquor

Bothasig police are investigating a case of a burglary and theft at a liquor store after unknown suspects removed security gates, broke a window and stole a substantial number of expensive bottles of liquor in the early hours of Tuesday morning at a liquor store.