South African Breweries (SAB) has given the South African government an ultimatum on further alcohol bans.
SAB said it would consider its decision to roll back investments in the country if the government provides commitments around its future lockdown regulations and alcohol sales.
AB InBev’s VP of finance, legal and corporate affairs for the rest of Africa, Richard Rivett-Carnac told the Sunday Times that the government needs to make a ‘firm and binding commitment’ not to reintroduce the ban on the sale of alcohol.
Furthermore, the group wants more certainty about the long-term alcohol regulatory framework in the country.
Rivett-Carnac said the company understands that curbs on people’s movements and on gatherings could be required, but it wants an undertaking that an outright alcohol ban will not be reimposed.
He added that the SAB will continue its legal action in the Western Cape High Court against the government in a bid to get a ruling on the unconstitutionality of such bans.
SAB has already cancelled R5 billion in investments in the country due to the ban. R2.5 billion was halted in 2020 and a further R2.5 billion placed on hold in January 2021.
At the time of the cancellation the group said the cancelled investments relate to upgrades to operating facilities, product innovation, operating systems, as well as the installation of new equipment at selected plants.