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The Beer Association of SA (Basa), which brings together the main beer manufacturers in the country, has launched a court application seeking to declare alcohol bans imposed during the recent Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns irrational and invalid.

They also want the bans set aside.

Basa, which includes Heineken, SA Breweries (SAB) and the Craft Brewers Association of SA, said the application before the high court in Pretoria focused on decisions by the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs to enforce alcohol bans in July 2020 and December 2020, June 2021 and the continued restrictions on the liquor trade in and during July 2021.

“Previous alcohol bans had a devastating impact on the industry, with 14.7% of projected sales volumes for 2020/2021 lost (a total of 1,262.7-million litres).

The association said R42.2bn was lost in retail sales and the loss to GDP was R60.7bn. “Total excise income tax lost was R10.2bn, with just over 233,000 jobs put at risk,” the association said.

By January 11, 30% of local breweries were forced to shut their doors permanently and 165,000 people lost their jobs.

“Another alcohol ban over the coming festive season, a time when we expect some recovery for the tourism and hospitality sector, will serve as the final nail in the coffin for thousands of businesses/citizens who barely survived the previous bans.”


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