'Few restaurants will now survive without selling alcohol. We were blindsided'
The Restaurants Association of South Africa (Rasa) is seeking legal advice after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening re-banned the sale of alcoholic beverages, without warning.
Ramaphosa said that alcohol abuse has placed intense pressure on the country’s buckling healthcare system since the government lifted the first ban.
Rasa is lobbying the government to allow alcohol to be sold and consumed at restaurants.
Representatives from the alcohol industry on Monday warned that the new ban would have “a disastrous economic impact” and that it would do nothing to curb Covid-19 infections.
They also warned that the restrictions would fuel a growing illegal trade in alcohol.
At least 90 000 South Africans (2015) are directly employed in the alcohol industry, according to Who Owns Whom.
A further 500 000 jobs can be indirectly traced back to the production and sale of liquor.
Arabile Gumede (in for The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield) interviewed Wendy Alberts, CEO at Restaurant Association of South Africa.
He also spoke to Cas Coovadia (CEO at Business Unity South Africa) and Lucky Ntimane (Convenor at National Liquor Traders Council).
We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the government to come up with workable solutions to rebuild the industry. Last night’s news came without consultation or any warning … It’s disappointing that the Government hasn’t engaged with us.Wendy Alberts, CEO - Restaurant Association of South Africa
We were suffering already. The whole 20 weeks have been dismal for us… A very small margin of restaurants will be able to keep their doors open… the UIF is going to be impacted…Wendy Alberts, CEO - Restaurant Association of South Africa
I wasn’t shocked… since the relaxation of the ban, there’s been an increase in trauma cases… It was in the air, but I didn’t expect the government to ban the sale of liquor totally again.Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa
It will have an impact on jobs and put pressure on UIF… It’s a tricky situation – we’re approaching the peak…Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa
We were caught blindsided!Lucky Ntimane, Convenor - National Liquor Traders Council
Alcohol abuse is an age-old problem… The Czech Republic drinks ten times more than South Africa but they don’t any issues with alcohol abuse there… The issue has always been the consumer…Lucky Ntimane, Convenor - National Liquor Traders Council
Listen to the interview in the audio below.
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