Those in the hospitality industry have been left smarting on Monday, after President Ramaphosa confirmed that a fourth long-term alcohol ban would be brought back to South Africa. Prohibition, one of the government’s favourite blunt objects to use during lockdown, is now likely to put thousands of workers on the brink of unemployment.
With no extended UIF / TERS payments, these businesses cannot rely on government support this time around. Restaurants, bars, taverns and popular night spots all risk losing workers, and businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
That’s why the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) is weighing up a challenge against the alcohol ban, taking the issue into court. They argue that booze has had very little to do with the soaring numbers of new COVID-19 cases, electing instead to blame huge gatherings and people who are ditching their masks outdoors.
BASA CEO Patricia Pillay has stepped in to chastise the government, too. In a recently issued statement, she bemoaned the slow pace of our national vaccine rollout – even though some ministers trying to shift the blame elsewhere.
“The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) is seeking legal advice against the inexplicable decision to implement a fourth alcohol ban. As others have pointed out, there is a vaccine against Covid-19, but not against poverty. The rise in infections is a direct result of large gatherings, a lack of social distancing, and the failure to wear masks – not alcohol.”
“It is not the banning of alcohol that helps and it is really more about getting everyone vaccinated in his country which is something that has really been a failure on the part of government at the moment. Many more businesses are now on the brink of closure as a result of the latest 14-day ban and no financial relief being made available by the government.”