Wine makers argued all day in court on Wednesday for the alcohol ban to be lifted to save businesses and jobs.
The Western Cape High Court has reserved judgement in Vinpro’s urgent interim interdict application in which the firm has asked the court to grant the Premier of the Western Cape the power to adopt deviations to the national alcohol ban.
Vinpro’s attorneys argued all day in court on Wednesday before Acting Judge Noluthando Nziweni, for an order to allow the premier to enable off-site and on-site consumption sale of alcohol in the province. Vinpro is a non-profit company which represents close to 2 600 South African wine producers, cellars and industry stakeholders.
Nziweni reserved judgment on the matter after hearing the arguments.
“We are hopeful for a positive outcome and eagerly await feedback on this important principle that would govern decision-making regarding future wine sales bans,” Vinpro managing director, Rico Basson said.
“The South African wine industry is at the edge of a cliff after its revenue stream has been cut off intermittently over the past 16 months. For every week that goes by even more wine-related businesses face potential closures, leaving thousands of employees struggling to feed their families,” Basson said.
Vinpro said in a statement that after the wine industry’s “tireless efforts” to actively engage with national government regarding the alcohol ban over the past 16 months, had been met by a continued lack of proper and real consultation, the industry had no option but to pursue legal action. Vinpro said this was a last resort to urgently reopen the liquor trade to prevent further business closures and job losses.
The industry has been out of business for 23 weeks since the first alcohol ban was implemented in March 2020.
“While we await feedback on the outcome of the interdict application, we remain committed to seeing through our main court application that is set down for hearing in the Western Cape High Court before a full bench of judges from 23 to 26 August 2021,” Basson said.