Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Vinpro legal challenge postponed

Published:  28 April, 2021

The legal challenge by Vinpro against South Africa’s national government, according to which it is contesting specific aspects of decision-making in respect of liquor bans, has been postponed to August 2021.

The challenge, which was due to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on 28 and 29 April 2021, has been delayed due to the late filing of the answering affidavits by national government, according Vinpro.

In addition to the late filing, government was seeking to incorporate over 1,000 pages of materials from another court case (the challenge brought by SA Breweries against the ban) into the Vinpro matter, which could not be dealt with in the limited time available, the wine producer body said.  

“We are extremely disappointed by the postponement of this court case, but the late filing and incorporation of additional affidavits that are not related to the main thrust of Vinpro’s challenge, effectively forced the postponement,” says Vinpro MD, Rico Basson. 

“Because the case was to be postponed, new available dates for the legal teams and judges allocated to the matter had to be found. National government is also represented by three teams of advocates and an earlier date suitable to all of the advocates could not be found,” he said.

Vinpro had objected from the outset against the large contingent of advocates representing national government, Basson added.

“It is indeed ironic that national government is paying for so many lawyers when they say in the court papers they do not have sufficient resources to police more targeted lockdown measures, such as manning roadblocks and imposing bans only in hotspot areas,” he said.

Vinpro said it would therefore continue with its court case, challenging  that not only had the “wrong level of government” been dealing with decision-making regarding the retail sale of liquor during the national state of disaster (national versus provincial), but also that the implementation and maintenance of nationwide bans by national government were “overbroad, unnecessary, unjustified and indeed counterproductive”.

Vinpro’s legal team would use the additional time to finalise the replying affidavits and prepare for argument, said Vinpro.

An agreement has already been reached that sections of the “unrelated and irrelevant” SAB material would be excluded.

In the event that a further ban is introduced before the next court date, Vinpro said it would exercise its right to seek urgent interim relief from the Cape High Court, asking it to afford the Premier of the Western Cape Province the power to adopt deviations to enable the off- and on-consumption sale of liquor in the Western Cape. 

Ultimately, it added, similar relief would be sought in respect of other provinces.