“Extension of trading days to Friday for off-consumption and two hours extension for on-consumption to midnight is a step in the right direction, but not far enough for our sector that is struggling to recover from the two waves of bans on formal sales of alcohol during the lockdown,” said Moore.
With most of the indicators tracking the spread and impact of the pandemic showing a positive decline, Moore emphasised that the key priority for the country is to focus on the economic recovery plan as discussed at Nedlac. He added that this is why the sector was disappointed that the government did not allow off-consumption outlets to trade in terms of their licensing conditions or at least engage in some trade on weekends.
The illicit alcohol market accounts for an estimated 15% of alcohol sales by volume and results in a fiscal loss of R6.4 billion to the economy. The alcohol industry is committed to working with SARS to find solutions to the problem of illicit trade which poses a mutual revenue risk for both Government and the industry.
The industry also reiterated its commitment to partnering in a new social compact with government to save businesses and jobs in the sector. The sector has committed an investment of R150m into direct harm reduction interventions and programmes over the coming year to assist the government in dealing with the health and social burden of alcohol misuse.
“As an industry we recognise that we have a collective responsibility to protect all our livelihoods as part of the alcohol value chain. Consumers, equally, have a responsibility to behave appropriately and not expose themselves and others to unnecessary harm and potential infection,” said Moore.
Rico Basson, managing director, VinPro, said, “The wine sector is a major contributor to domestic and international tourism to SA. We appreciate that there is a great consideration of tourism as a sector to drive economic recovery. Relaxing the rules on on-consumption as well as indoor and outdoor events should allow us to explore ways to reignite our sector.”
However, Basson said: “The continued limitations on off-consumption on Saturday and Sunday is disappointing for the 530 wineries that rely on direct sales from cellar door for home consumption within strict Covid protocol. This at a time when the wine industry, with a significant number of SMME’s, is in dire need of disaster recovery, job retention and growth.”