“This has resulted in the difficult decision to suspend 550 temporary contract workers across its South African operations. These temporary contracts will predominantly affect positions within SAB’s supply and logistics workforce.”
Cape Town – SA Breweries (SAB) let 550 contract workers go due to the latest ban on alcohol sales, saying it was nearing its maximum storage capacity at its nine brewing facilities.
Zoleka Lisa, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs at SAB, said the ripple effect of the country’s third alcohol ban was being felt throughout the beer value chain.
Lisa said that meant the company would continue to reduce production levels, as it navigated the unintended consequences of the prohibition. She said the lack of trade coupled with reduced storage capacity, had led to a slowing down of production, along with the uncertainty of the duration of the alcohol ban.
“This has resulted in the difficult decision to suspend 550 temporary contract workers across its South African operations. These temporary contracts will predominantly affect positions within SAB’s supply and logistics workforce,” said Lisa.
“We are reviewing all measures available to us, but with minimal communication and engagement from the government on timelines for the ban, this has made business planning, and the consequential impact, extremely difficult.”
Liquor Trader Formations convener Lucky Ntimane said the continued ban on alcohol sales, a decision taken without consulting anyone in the alcohol industry continued to wreak havoc on the lives and livelihoods of our liquor traders and workers.
“Should the ban on alcohol sales not be lifted in a matter of days, and we envisage seven days to be a breakeven period, then we should be prepared to part ways with a significant number of the 250 000 jobs that are at stake this very moment,” said Ntimane.
He said the situation was dire and required urgent intervention at a level of the president to resolve, the first step of which was allowing the sale of liquor without delay.
Standing committee chairperson on agriculture in the Western Cape Legislature, Andricus van der Westhuizen, said he supported the Western Cape Government’s call to the national government to allow the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption from Monday to Thursday, as well as the sale of wines at wine estates over the weekend.
Van der Westhuizen, said the national government must, and with urgency, take heed of the Western Cape call.
“Without this, at least 290 000 livelihoods, dependent on our wine industry, will be devastated. The consequences of the first two alcohol bans were severe, with a R7.5 billion loss in revenue and 80 wineries and 350 producers having shut their doors. This led to a loss of at least 18 000 employees,” said Van der Westhuizen.