Alcohol industry accepts the final decision of Government on the handling of COVID-19 Easter weekend risk

Media Release

The South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA) noted President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation on Tuesday, 30 March 2021. SALBA is pleased with the President’s emphasis on the urgent need to rollout the country’s vaccination programme and his comment on the need for the collaboration between private corporations and the Government in making this happen.

The industry welcomes the President’s comments on increasing the rollout of its vaccination programme. The industry is supportive of the proposed vaccine procurement and rollout targets as outlined by the Minister of Health as the ultimate solution to restrictions so that the economy can move toward recovery.

SALBA welcomes the decision not to totally ban alcohol sales, which has been the case on three occasions over the past 12 months. The bans have totaled 19 weeks of lost days of trade, leading to R36 billion loss in sales revenue for the industry and R29 billion in tax revenue loss for Government.

SALBA Chairperson Sibani Mngadi said it was important to improve levels of consultation between Government and industry with a common objective of limiting the impact of COVID-19 pandemic while turning around the South African economic trajectory towards a growth path.

Nedlac alignment discussions on the Easter weekend management were on the recommendations to limit gatherings and movement, while keeping most sectors of the economy open. However, consultation at the Government level indicated that the Nedlac proposals were not pulling through, and that there was a consideration to expand alcohol trade restrictions beyond just the Easter weekend.

SALBA notes the final decision of a limited form of restriction but would still like to meaningfully engage with government on the scientific data that informs this decision. We will continue to explore this option through various channels.

“The decision to keep the on-consumption trading environment open under the licence conditions and limitations of the curfew is very much welcome. Taverns, bars, restaurants are a critical part of the tourism business which we need to assist to recover,” said Mngadi.

“There is a need for more engagement with the Government to better understand the thinking that informs restrictions of the off-consumption channel, which has been limited to four-days a week trade at various stages of the lockdown,” he added.

The alcohol industry is committed to playing its role in the economic recovery of SA. It seeks, in particular, a social compact with the Government, industry, and civil society to promote responsible trading, and sensible alcohol consumption.

Issued by FTI Consulting on behalf of:

Issued by FTI Consulting on behalf of the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA). For interviews, or further information, please contact:

salba@fticonsulting.com