Tavern owners and major players in the liquor industry have urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider their contribution of R165 billion to the country’s economy as a valid enough reason for their call to lift the ban on sale of alcohol.
The 35 000 tavern owners have also reiterated their call urging Ramaphosa to assist them with a once-off payment of R20 000 each, saying that amount would total R690 million.
The industry players say they are desperately trying to save thousands of jobs.
The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) said due to their hardship, they were now considering raising R100 million to support tavern owners.
NLTC spokesperson Lucky Ntimane said the ban has threatened their livelihoods, with a knock-on effect that could see more than 500 000 people facing economic ruin.
“NLTC is already embarking on a programme to mobilise the township liquor trade to honour the President’s call for a “social compact” to help rebuild the economy and address specific issues in partnership with all stakeholders,” Ntimane said.
Ntimane called on the president to outline when the ban on dop sales will be lifted and under what conditions.
“If the government acts now and lifts the ban, we can begin to recover and prevent this catastrophe,” he said.
“The unfortunate decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend the sale of alcohol has shattered the entire alcohol industry.
“The fact that the government failed to consult with the industry before the ban added salt to the already gaping wound.”
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Lesotho and eSwatini are the only four countries in the world that have prohibited the sale of alcohol as part of their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.