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WoSA: ‘Industry deeply disturbed by alcohol ban’

Published:  28 June, 2021

Wines of South Africa (WoSA) has voiced deep concern following President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing another total ban on the sale of alcohol yesterday, marking the fourth ban since the start of the pandemic.

With effect from midnight last night (Sunday), the country has moved to alert level 4, meaning the sale of alcohol for both onsite and offsite consumption has been banned. The restrictions are set to remain in place for 14 days, Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation Sunday night.

"The alcohol industry is deeply disturbed by last night’s decision by the President to ban alcohol sales for 14 days when there is no evidence to suggest alcohol consumption is the driver of the current rise in infection rates,” WoSA communications manager Maryna Calow told Harpers.

“First and foremost, the government should be concentrating on generating greater efficiency in the country’s vaccine rollout to allow for the economy to open up,” she said.

The decision to ban alcohol would place jobs at risk at a time when the government did not have the fiscal resources to provide support for those workers who found themselves unemployed, Calow added.

Ramaphosa said the alcohol ban was necessary to ease pressure on hospitals brought by emergency incidents related to drinking.

Earlier their month, Vinpro warned about the “dire consequences” another alcohol ban, or restrictions on wine sales, would hold for related businesses and the livelihoods of those working in the South African wine industry value-chain.

In more positive news plans to make South Africa’s Cape Town Port, which is of strategic importance to the country’s wine industry, more efficient were announced last week.