Blanket alcohol ban is band-aid where surgery is needed, says DA

Blanket liquor ban is a band-aid, not a solution

By Andricus van der Westhuizen* 

President Ramaphosa’s announcement of a blanket liquor ban and gazetting of updated lockdown regulations demonstrates that national government pays only lip-service to public participation and does not consider the deep-rooted socioeconomic problems related to Covid-19.

MPP Andricus van der Westhuizen says: “The alcohol ban came into effect once more without any consultation of major industry bodies, such as Vinpro, which represents over 2,000 wine-related businesses most of which are in the Western Cape. This renewed ban stands to cost at least 18,000 jobs in the wine industry, with 350 grape-producers set to close in the current year if the ban persists and the industry is not supported.

The ban on alcohol is akin to providing a band-aid when actually it is surgery that is needed. National government needed to consult the industry before taking this decision and look at other more effective ways of curbing alcohol abuse and related violence in the long-run.”

MPP van der Westhuizen comments: “Whilst there is a clear link between alcohol abuse and violent crimes, government needs to look at better solutions rather than the blunt tool of a blanket ban. When government changes regulations overnight without proper engagement, it is losing the goodwill of South Africans, and risk reducing the compliance with the regulations. Alcohol is not now going to disappear; but it will go to underground markets which is far more dangerous for health, safety, and economic loss.”

The DA in the Western Cape believes the blanket liquor ban fuels criminal syndicates, results in job losses, and will do more harm than good in the long-run. We call on the Presidency to revisit this short sighted decision and engage the industry to provide more innovative, targeted solutions.

  • Andricus van der Westhuizen is the DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Agriculture.