The South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) has confirmed that it is not party to the litigation process related to the alcohol sales ban, which was lodged against the government by South African Breweries on January 7.
While Salba is concerned about the current prohibition of all alcohol sales, it also shares its concern about the continued increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and would like to work with government to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the health system.
However, Salba chairperson Sibani Mngadi says there is no greater risk of Covid-19 infection associated with the sale of alcohol for home consumption. Off-consumption channels operate exactly like any grocery shop.
“Government has not provided a reason for closing the off-consumption and there is no justification for the ban to continue beyond the January 15 review of the current lockdown.”
Salba says there is still opportunity for government to review its alcohol sales ban decision ahead of January 15, which has been marked as the date that the necessity of lockdown Level 3 regulations will be re-evaluated.
Mngadi reports that the current prohibition of all formal sales of alcohol has only led to a sharp increase in illicit trade, leading to a mutual loss for industry on revenue and government on excise tax, value-added tax and company tax to a rising network of alcohol smugglers.