South Africa’s alcohol industry has welcomed the announcement by the Government to resume the trading and distribution of alcohol from 18 August 2020.
Kurt Moore, CEO of the South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA), said the alcohol industry and business representatives met Health Minister Zweli Mkhize last week to discuss lifting the ban, as well as aspects related to enhancing the social compact between the industry, government and civil society/community. During these discussions, the industry acknowledged the challenges facing the Government in its efforts to stem the pandemic. It again confirmed it would continue to work with the Government to implement safety protocols addressing COVID-19 transmission risks across the value chain and ensure that the industry reopens safely and efficiently.
“The liquor industry confirmed that it is willing to ensure enhanced resources, including funds, people and time, are available to assist the Government in dealing with the burden on the public healthcare system. It would also help ease the pressure on healthcare facilities and to assist with the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), leveraging our extensive distribution and retail networks nationwide in support of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Moore.
“We also reiterated our commitment to work with the Government to implement health and safety protocols addressing COVID-19 transmission risks across the value chain and ensure that the industry would reopen safely and efficiently.”
Lucky Ntimane, Convener of the National Liquor Traders Council, welcomed the decision. “Our network of some 34 000 taverners across the country are ready to get back to business. We will continue to roll out innovations such as the “click-and-collect” apps to help reduce queues, improve social distancing, and make it safer for consumers to order and collect their purchases.”
Rico Basson, CEO, VinPro, said the industry was committed to ramping up its social awareness programmes and behavioural change interventions. These efforts included vigorous responsible messaging and a mass communication campaign aimed at helping communities in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
“We reiterate our commitment to partner with the Government to create a social compact that drives behavioural change regarding the use and consumption of alcohol,” he said. “We call for the establishment of a national multi-stakeholder forum with Government and civil society to focus on identifying and prioritising problem areas—based on research and credible current data—and jointly designing interventions targeting these key areas with enhanced current programmes and new measurable and evidence-based initiatives.”
Patricia Pillay, CEO of the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), welcomed the decision. “We absolutely understand the Government was caught between a rock and a hard place: getting the balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods. We are determined to work with all stakeholders to ensure the sector gets back on its feet, that social awareness programmes around harm reduction are ramped up, and we can start the process of rebuilding the country’s economy.”
The alcohol industry remains committed to partner with the Government to save businesses and jobs in the sector while ensuring its safety, responsible trading, and the sensible consumption of alcohol during our joint effort to fight against the pandemic and to begin to rebuild the economy.
The South African alcohol industry includes but is not limited to the National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA), the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), Vinpro, the National Liquor Traders Council, and manufacturers.
Issued by FTI Consulting on behalf of the South African liquor Industry. For interviews, or further information, please contact: