“We won’t subject ourselves to another ban.”
This was the word from Lucky Ntimane, convenor of the National Liquor Traders Council, which represents thousands of tavern owners and liquor traders across the country, on Tuesday.
Ntimane was reacting to the latest call by the South African Alcohol Policy Alliance to implement tougher alcohol restrictions as the country heads into the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued on Monday, SAAPA Director Maurice Smithers proposed the following measures:
- Temporarily impose zero breath and blood concentration levels for drivers during the State of Disaster.
- Ban all special offers for reduced price alcoholic beverages during lockdown
- Ban all alcohol advertising except at point of sale to reduce the pressure on people to drink.
- Prohibit major alcohol-fuelled party events, including street bashes.
- Reduce the gathering numbers to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
- Extend the curfew from midnight to 22:00 seven days a week.
- Close all on-consumption liquor outlets (pubs, bars) from 18:00 on public holidays and one day prior to public holidays.
- Reduce off-consumption operating hours for bottle stores.
Ntimane, who earlier warned that more than 250 000 workers jobs were at risk during the earlier alcohol bans, lambasted SAPAA for its suggestions on Tuesday.
“The call by SAPAA which is nothing but a paid mouthpiece for the anti alcohol lobbysts is really unfortunate and should be condemned in a harshest terms possible. We will only take this organization seriously when they are prepared to meet with the industry to address issues of alcohol abuse and how we can come together in a social compact to address this,” he said.
“As it stands we feel that this mouthpiece only seeks to gain relevance at the expense of black owned township businesses that operate as taverns and shebeen permit holders. They are mute on who is going to support our businesses with the reduced times that they are proposing without consulting anyone,” he said.
“We won’t subject ourselves to another ban. We are done participating in unjust and unconstitutional bans that seek to destroy our businesses.”