Lobby groups are urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to relax regulations to allow the sale of liquor and cigarettes
Cape Town – Lobby groups are urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to relax regulations to allow the sale of liquor and cigarettes. The calls come after Ramaphosa extended the lockdown by two weeks.
The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa), representing the Craft Brewers Association; Heineken South Africa; and South African Breweries said with the further 14-day extension, traders and small businesses’ livelihoods are at serious risk.
The chief executive of Basa, Patricia Pillay, said: “Our message to our members and traders has been to respect the lockdown and shut all trade and endure through the 21 days. They have fully supported us in this call and despite pressure from their customers, did not operate irrespective of the financial hardships experienced.”
Pillay said Basa has come up with a proposal to ensure the survival of the industry. Some of these proposals include allowing licensed off-consumption outlets to sell beer subject to strict physical distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade, allowing licensed on-consumption outlets to be granted a special dispensation to operate strictly as off-consumption outlets subject to the strict physical distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade and restricted hours of trading.
“We believe our proposal balances both the need to mitigate health risks and preserve the stability of the legal beer industry and our business. These measures will stabilise the legal beer industry to ensure we can compete efficiently against the illicit operators in the longer term and yield economic value for our country today and into the future,” Pillay said.
A petition has also been started to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes. It says the withdrawal of nicotine could have serious health implications for some people.
Founder of Tax Justice South Africa, Yusuf Abramjee, said: “Law-abiding citizens have been banned from buying cigarettes. Yet it has become obvious this prohibition is encouraging movement and impoverishing the country when it needs the money most.”