Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

I was interested to read Gareth Ackerman, writing in his capacity as chair of the Consumer Goods Council, expressing his concerns about the liquor industry (“Deaf to business, government is crippling retail trade, especially in liquor”, February 18).

Ackerman is understandably upset that the off-consumption stores are only allowed to trade from Monday to Thursday. Wearing his Pick n Pay hat, he bemoans that it makes no sense to allow bars to trade seven days a week when they only account for 30% of total liquor sales.

Because of the curfew, bars are having to close at 10pm. What is not realised is that on-consumption sales to 10pm only constitutes roughly 50% of normal turnover.  The bars need longer hours to survive and this is probably the reason normal licencing hours extend to the early hours of the morning. The late hours cater for a particular sector and afford the opportunity to employees of businesses such as restaurants who work long hours in the evening, to relax with a drink after a long day at work.

The loss of trade from the curfew has had a crippling effect on the on-consumption industry. Much of the blame for the trauma cases is laid at the feet of the bars, but there is no knowing how many of these cases arise from “responsible home consumption”, as Ackerman terms it. In fact, there is no real data showing that stabbings and shootings are a result of enjoying a drink with friends at bars. Many of the casualties are the result of gang wars and gender-based violence, which might have nothing to do with drinking in bars.

The industry seems to be controlled by two members of the cabinet. Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has threatened a further lockdown, is a danger to the financial stability of any industry. Police minister Bheki Cele, a professed teetotaller who is totally opposed to the consumption of all liquor, should be removed from the portfolio as he cannot be objective.

L Marcow, Sea Point

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an e-mail with your comments. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Send your letter by e-mail to letters@businesslive.co.za. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.