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WoSA expresses concern over lack of government consultation

Published:  31 March, 2021

Wines of South Africa (WoSA) has expressed concern over the lack of consultation by government in relation to further alcohol bans.

The statement of concern follows yesterday’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that sales of alcohol in the off-trade will banned over Easter (2 to 5 April inclusive). 

On-trade sales are allowed to continue but outlets will be required to close at 11pm.

While the South African wine industry was grateful that they could continue to welcome visitors to wineries over the Easter weekend, WoSA said it was “concerned at the lack of consultation by government”. 

A spokesperson told Harpers: “In light of an imminent third wave of Covid-19 infections, we have, alongside the wider alcohol industry, taken proactive measures in submitting viable proposals to the South African government which highlight ways of mitigating risk while keeping the industry afloat. We have however still not had any response from government.”

In his announcement, Ramaphosa said the decision to ban off-trade alcohol sales over Easter had been made to prevent the holiday from contributing to a new surge of Covid-19. 

“Given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour, we will put in place some restrictions over the Easter weekend,” he said.   

SA wine businesses have only intermittently been able to earn any income from local wine sales since March 2020, which has led to an overall loss of more than R8bn in direct sales revenue and still threatens the survival of cellars, wine grape producers and the livelihoods of 27,000 employees in the wine industry value-chain.

At the end of last month, the South African wine industry was dealt a further blow as the government announced it would increase the excise duties on alcohol by 8%.

The third alcohol ban on local liquor sales was lifted 1 February 2021.