by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THERE is some good news on the horizon for South Africa’s imbibers and the entire liquor industry left in a lurch when the government banned the sale of alcohol at the end of last year.
As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases ease, indications are that this ban could be lifted in the coming days. This could be earlier than mid-February, as had initially been anticipated.
“That said, it would seem that those involved in the alcohol supply chain locally may get good news earlier than 15 February,” stated economist, Siobhan Redford of the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
She pointed out some government departments and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) had purportedly been discussing this issue.
“Cabinet meets on Wednesday and this will provide an opportunity for the booze ban to be lifted,” Redford said.
She added that South Africa had managed to get through the festive season and hopefully its second peak.
Thus, should the demand on healthcare facilities from the pandemic decline, a window might have opened for the lifting of restrictions, the economist added
The ban of alcohol sales, three times since the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa in March, has been a source of conflict among government, industry and consumers.
Government argues the abuse of alcohol stalls the capacity of health centres to deal with the pandemic.
Some players in the industry, worried at loss of profit and job losses, have taken legal action against the government following the restrictions.
The ban has also led to the proliferation of thriving illegal market for liquor.
– CAJ News