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All alcohol restrictions in SA *could* be scrapped – thanks to this court case

If this application is successful, alcohol restrictions will be dropped for SA – and Vinpro are pinning their hopes on three major arguments.

alcohol tobacco prices

Photo: Unsplash

Vinpro, who represent more than 2 600 wine producers in South Africa, are going for the old ‘Hail Mary’ in the dock this week. The group will appear before the Western Cape High Court on Monday, to argue in favour of ending all alcohol restrictions in the country – and the team reckons they have a decent chance of succeeding.

What arguments could overturn the current alcohol restrictions?

As it stands, you can only buy booze from 10:00 – 18:00, Monday to Thursday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption are permitted, as per licence conditions, up to 20:00. The regulations are crippling the liquor industry however, and Vinpro will present three specific arguments to convince lawmakers that these alcohol restrictions need to go:

  • The government structure: Vinpro believe a ‘centralised’ decision-making process is wrong on all levels.
  • Interim application debate: Their previous attempts to open up the industry were curtailed by eased lockdown laws.
  • Contestibility issues: With the alcohol ban partially lifted, the group believes half-measures ‘make no difference’.

Vinpro in court ‘from 23 to 26 August’

Rico Basson, the CEO of Vinpro, staunchly believes that the current process to decide when booze can be yanked from the shelves is flawed. Pushing for a more ‘provincial approach’, he has put his faith in the strength of the company’s legal evidence. For liquor lovers across the land, this could prove to be a landmark moment of the pandemic.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have argued that the provinces, and not the national government, are in the best position to decide whether or not to impose alcohol restrictions. Any decision should take into account provincial circumstances – including the need to ensure capacity in the trauma units of hospitals in the province.”

“Although we challenged the government’s decision through an urgent interdict application and hearing on 21 July 2021, the case was considered academic in nature because the ban was partially lifted four days later. Vinpro argued in an interim application that this evidence should now also be considered. ”

Rico Basson