SAB welcomes the resubmission of trade, a positive step forwards rebuilding the economy but greater regulatory policy certainty is required to enable the sectors recovery
02 February 2021. The South African Breweries (SAB) welcomes the President’s decision to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol with immediate effect. SAB says the third ban, which was enforced from 29 December 2020, has meant a total of 5 weeks of lost sales. The three bans have had a devastating impact on the beer and broader alcohol value-chain. The accumulated effects severely threatened thousands of livelihoods from farmers, suppliers, logistics, retailers, small businesses and our valued employees. The loss of 165 000 jobs from previous bans is a stark reminder of some of the unintended consequences of prohibition
Zoleka Lisa, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at SAB says, “The resumption of trade is a much needed step for our industry at large, this allows us to once again, play our part in contributing to the economic recovery of our country. The Covid-19 pandemic is our reality for the foreseeable future, thus we still need sustainable solutions and regulatory stability to save both lives and livelihoods.”
Lisa adds that SAB supports government efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. “We are sensitive to the difficulties we face as nation as we battle Covid-19 and we do support adequate measures such as a curfew, reduced capacity at gatherings, and measured alcohol restrictions, however an outright suspension of alcohol is not a sustainable solution to our collective challenges, and a blanket measure that should no longer be applied going forward”
SAB awaits government’s official legal response due on Tuesday, 2 February. The very difficult decision to approach the courts was made in response to a third national ban on alcohol and in a final bid to protect the livelihoods of our employees, partners, value chain participants and those that depend on our business in South Africa – into the future. SAB will respond to the Government before 9 February 2021, where after the matter will hopefully proceed to a hearing during March 2021.
Lisa has an important message for all valued consumers and retailers, that we all have an obligation towards responsibility. “I know we all missed our favourite beers, but we need to act responsibly when we sell and consume alcohol. Let us show the country, and the world what it means to enjoy our beer, moderately, responsibly, and safely.”
Lisa concludes and says, that it will really take a collaborative effort on all fronts SAB will continue to work with government and industry partner to find sustainable solutions. We will remain committed to working with government and all social partners to ensure responsible trading and consumption of our products.