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Vinpro interdict hearing to take place Wednesday

Published:  20 July, 2021

Vinpro has confirmed that it is to argue its urgent interim interdict application in the Western Cape High Court tomorrow (Wednesday 21 July).

The interdict hearing will, if successful, give the Premier of the Western Cape the power to adopt deviations to the national ban to enable off- and on-consumption sale of liquor in the province. 

Vinpro said it would approach the court to seek similar relief for other provinces if tomorrow proved victorious.   

“We can confirm that our legal team is ready to argue our urgent interim interdict application in the Western Cape High Court,” said MD Rico Basson, reiterating how the South African wine industry is “at the edge of a cliff” following its revenue stream having been cut off intermittently over the past 16 months.

“Many legal, tax-paying wine and tourism businesses, especially smaller companies who do their part to keep the economy afloat, are facing potential closures, leaving thousands of employees struggling to feed their families,” he said. 

This, he added, while illicit trade continued to "flourish", including the looting of various liquor traders and distributors last week.

Urgent interventions called for by Vinpro to rebuild the sector include the "responsible reopening” of the legal wine trade according to a risk-adjusted approach which differentiates between provinces. 

“Law and order needs to prevail with regard to the abuse/misuse of alcohol, including illicit trade, as well as the enforcement of regulations in place and financial relief and tangible support from government is crucial to help rebuild this sector,” said the industry body.  

Lastly, said Vinpro, a partnership model was needed to ensure a targeted approach towards harm reduction and behavioural change.

“Vinpro continues to pursue these objectives,” said Basson. “A continued lack of consultation and assistance from national government unfortunately means that we need to pursue legal action as a last resort to urgently reopen trade and prevent further business closures and job losses.

Vinpro also confirmed that it remains committed to seeing through its main court application that is set down for hearing in the Western Cape High Court before a full bench from 23 to 26 August 2021. 

The interdict hearing was due to be heard 7 July following Vinpro launching an urgent application on 29 June 2021 when the latest alcohol ban came into force, but was postponed.