Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has defended the government’s decision to reimpose the alcohol ban.
Dlamini-Zuma was responding to the court challenge brought by wine farmers.
The Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai), wants the court to repeal a section 44(1) and (2) of the new regulations to allow wine to be served on wine farms and in restaurants.
Minister Dlamini-Zuma has said the government has no desire to leave the alcohol ban in place longer than necessary.
Adding that government will re-evaluate the country’s alcohol ban on a regular basis:
“It is contemplated that the suspension of the sale of liquor will be re-evaluated with regularity as government aims to also limit hardships facing the economy and individual livelihoods during this period.”
“The prohibition on the sale of liquor was taken as a temporary measures until the rate of infection slows down or drops. It is one of a number of measures imposed to slow down or drop the rate of infection, together with other measures imposed, such as the curfew and social distancing in public places.”
Saai’s court case will be heard in August. The organization said the stringent government regulations on the industry pose a threat to the survival of some of South Africa’s oldest wine farms.
Agri Western Cape reported that the initial ban on sales resulted in losses of more than R3 billion in the wine industry alone.