Business for South Africa (B4SA) has welcomed the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to counter the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, focusing on localised restrictions in Covid-19 hotspots.
B4SA steering committee chairperson Martin Kingston said on Friday that the organisation was pleased that government recognised the need to maintain full economic activity.
“To restore and boost investor and consumer confidence in South Africa, we must do all that we can to ensure that the country does not return to a hard lockdown – irrespective of infection rates. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue to engage with government and other social partners to refine regulation as appropriate,” he said.
Kingston stated that B4SA was in full support of targeted, localised intervention that might result in a reduction of Covid-19 cases, including tighter restrictions, limiting trading hours for the sale of alcohol, reduced numbers for gatherings and extending the period of the curfew.
The President announced that localised restrictions would be implemented in the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Metro from December 4. Certain identified hotspots, all in the Eastern Cape, are being monitored while all other regions in South Africa continue to operate under level 1 regulation.
Meanwhile, the South African alcohol industry has also welcomed the localised targeted interventions that President Ramaphosa announced.
South African Liquor Brandowners Association chairperson Sibani Mngadi said that the sector supported the government’s approach of localised targeted interventions and would continue collaborating closely with various spheres of government to ensure that the lockdown level 1 regulations were adhered to and that everyone remained vigilant.
“We respect the government’s rational and measured response to the increases in the number of cases in various hot spots. We echo the President’s call to remain vigilant. We urge alcohol outlets to adhere to the government’s Covid-19 regulations, namely, insisting on masks, maintaining social distancing, obeying the curfew hours and sanitising regularly and repeatedly. The same goes for the customers,” said Mngadi.
He indicated that the alcohol industry was working together with Eastern Cape government with a specific focus on NMB. Last week, the industry formed a joint task team with the Eastern Cape provincial government to continue the collaboration in addressing Covid-19 challenges in the province.
“The industry has already committed to train and deploy 80 community patrollers in eight police stations (ten patrollers per station) in the Covid-19 hotspots areas in the province. Working together with the South African Police Services and community policing forums (CPFs), the patrollers will ensure compliance with the regulations in alcohol outlets in the catchment areas of the selected police stations,” he posited.
This month, a partnership programme was established between the industry and the CPFs to specifically address enforcing compliance from the liquor outlets around Covid-19 safety protocols, licensing conditions, gender-based violence and femicide risks and pedestrian fatalities.
In support of the health system response, the alcohol industry is providing medical supplies, including personal protective equipment to the value of R30-million to the Eastern Cape province.
“We have further invitation to support measures to raise community awareness and provide sanitizers and masks in areas around the NMB Metro. We are planning to honour this request in the coming week,” said Mngadi.