Industry body Vinpro confirms that a court date has been set for July 21, in the Western Cape High Court, to hear its urgent interim interdict application.
This follows various postponements and, most recently, Vinpro being notified that the court would not hear this application, owing to two duty judges not being in a position to hear the interim application, as they have been appointed to hear Vinpro’s main application set down for hearing from August 23 to 26.
Vinpro is seeking to have the latest liquor ban lifted, arguing that the Western Cape Premier should be afforded the power to adopt deviations to the national ban to enable off- and on-site consumption sale of liquor in the province.
If successful, Vinpro says it will approach the court to seek similar relief for other provinces.
The industry body still intends to see through its main court application.
The initial litigation started when Vinpro approached the High Court on January 27 to seek urgent relief during the previous liquor ban. This was subsequently postponed when the restrictions were lifted and the matter was set to be heard in the Western Cape High Court in August.
Vinpro, however, reserved the right to launch an interim interdict in case of a full ban being reinstated before the court date.
The industry body represents about 2 600 South African wine producers, cellars and industry stakeholders.
Vinpro says in its latest statement that the wine industry finds itself at the edge of a cliff after its revenue stream has been cut off intermittently for the past 16 months. The situation has been exacerbated by the looting, violence and destruction of property in South Africa over the last two weeks.
Vinpro MD Rico Basson believes urgent interventions are needed to rebuild the wine industry, since it is on its knees as a result of decisions “not based on sound empirical data”. He suggests the responsible reopening of the legal wine trade according to a risk-adjusted approach across provinces.
He also recommends a clamp down on illicit trade of alcohol and that government provide tangible support to help rebuild the industry.
However, a continued lack of consultation and assistance from government is what has led Vinpro to pursue legal routes to resolve issues.