Industry organisation the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) has called on government to be “transparent” in the reasons for its continued ban of formal alcohol sales, claiming also that Covid-19 cases are declining.
“Government justified the current alcohol ban based on the projected rise in new Covid-19 cases. With the current downward trend in the number of new cases and a recovery rate of 87.6%, government has to explain why the current alcohol continues with no end date in sight,” said chairperson Sibani Mngadi.
“No government ministry is taking responsibility to explain to the public and the industry what justifies the continued ban, and what would be the basis and timeline for a review of this ban. This lack of transparency and accountability from government is forcing major companies in the sector into further cost-cutting measures, which means more job losses,” Mngadi claimed.
Over the past week, Heineken reduced its staff by 7%, and South African Breweries suspended the contracts of 550 workers, while Distell reduced its contract staff by 220.
The industry had requested a deferment of excise liabilities, to which the government had not formally responded at the time of Salba’s statement.