Angry SAs speak: The alcohol ban is economic murder!

At the end of 2020, a matter of days before New Year’s Eve, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would be ringing in the new year sans alcohol.

We expected another alcohol ban as the country’s festive season had already been tainted by a record number of Covid-19 infections (surpassing one million), partly driven by a new strain of the deadly virus.

The alcohol ban was, once again, an attempt to bring down the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions as healthcare facilities grapple with an unending stream of patients and a shortage of oxygen.

Read also: Alcohol ban leaves SA alcohol industry in distress

What it means for the industry

On the face of it, a total ban on liquor sales seems like a sensible way to put an end to unnecessary hospital visits, but it doesn’t come without its consequences. As BizNews Editor Jackie Cameron recently reported, the alcohol ban has knocked South Africa’s glass packaging industry, which could lose a further R1.5bn in sales if the ban continues.

“The ANC just don’t understand that things like glass furnaces cannot just be shut down and restarted at their whim… it’s a huge and VERY costly operation to stop and restart furnaces in this industry which runs 24/7. Eventually the investors and shareholders in this business will also get so so pissed off they will sell out rand, move on, resulting in closure and then the forced importation of bottles and other glass products! Think ‘comrades’… for a change, before you ruin yet another important free market business and contributor to the funding of your marxist regime,” writes BizNews reader

There will soon be lots of nice bankrupt businesses for ANC members to buy cheaply. This is not class suicide but it is economic murder.”

The Liquor Traders Formation, which represents liquor outlets, said that they had proposed curfew measures and alcohol restrictions that would still allow off-premise sales for home consumption. This is because a complete shutdown of liquor sales would mean “an end to the tavern market and the 250,000 direct jobs linked to the sector”.

Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s South African division challenged the alcohol ban in court, saying it is unconstitutional. SA Breweries (SAB) stated that it supported a reduction in trading times, but that a prohibition is “beyond what is reasonable and necessary”. According to SAB, the first two bans (which together lasted more than three months) led to more than 160,000 job cuts. They also demonstrated that restricting the legal trade of alcohol fuels the growth of the illicit market.

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alcohol ban facebook comment

Is an outright alcohol ban the best move? 

The overriding response from the community seems to be one of anger and disbelief, with some readers offering a healthy dose of cynicism to keep things interesting.

“This bunch (ANC) couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Mucking forons,” writes

Not to worry, ANC mates will buy up bankrupt companies at rock bottom prices.”

alcohol ban Facebook comment

alcohol ban Facebook comment

alcohol ban Facebook comment

Read also: Alcohol ban sees AB InBev scrap R2.5bn investment in SA

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Some readers have even offered their own alternative solutions.

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Will the ban be lifted after 15 February 2021? Many South Africans are certainly hoping so.

Do you agree with the ban on alcohol sales? Add your voice to the discussion below.

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