Liquor ban could cost 1m jobs

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol will lead to job losses, the liquor industry says.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa said the abuse of alcohol had led to the admission of higher numbers of people at clinics and hospitals.

While some political parties agreed with his decision, the liquor industry has lamented the impact on employment. The National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brand owners Association, the Beer Association of South Africa, Vinpro, the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa and manufacturers said they were disappointed.

“The liquor industry has a wide and deep value chain employing almost 1-million people. The ban will have other unintended consequences which includes further job losses. During the nine-week lockdown, the alcohol industry lost R18-billion in revenue and R3.4-billion in excise tax.”

They said the initial suspension of alcohol sales restricted the legal trade and fuelled the illegal market’s growth.

“It also creates security concerns for liquor outlets. The illicit market operates mostly uncontrolled. For this restriction to be viable, it must be accompanied by considerably increased law enforcement.”

The DA slammed the decision while the SACP supported it.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the ban and a night-time curfew was “simply to distract from the real issue: the utter failure to build treatment and testing capacity. These ineffective gimmicks are an attempt to obscure the truth of our situation: that national government has wasted South Africa’s long and crippling lockdown.”

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