- SA Breweries are dubious of the extent of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's powers in regard to the complete prohibition on the sale of alcohol
- The major brewery will be mounting a challenge against Dlamini-Zuma in the Western Cape High Court but is awaiting a relevant court date
- SAB contends that the fourth ban on alcohol sales in the space of 18 months is unsubstantiated by clear and acceptable scientific evidence
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma may see her powers once more being challenged over the alcohol sales ban in view of the current lockdown regulations.
SA Breweries (SAB) said it is awaiting a court date in order to pursue a fresh challenge, citing the crippling effects of the ban on sales volumes. Reports are suggesting SAB filed papers in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.
A report appearing on TimesLive stated that the challenge will be made on the basis of administrative law grounds. This is in addition to an earlier court application by the brewery to review and set aside regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol.
"No official documented reasons have been issued for the ban, despite repeated requests," the brewery said.
"SAB’s application is solely to review and set aside Regulation 29 of the new regulations, and SAB is not attacking any of the other regulations published on 28 June 2021."
Dlamini-Zuma, who has since the start of the country's lockdown more than a year ago come under fire for her heavy-handed approach towards the retail of alcohol and tobacco, is one of two respondents in SAB's application.
Dlamini-Zuma institutes fourth ban in 18 months, alcohol industry livid
SAB said it is not in disagreement with lawful and reasonable measures being taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The major brewery said it contended that the fourth ban on alcohol sales in the space of 18 months was unsubstantiated by robust scientific evidence.
The company said there are simply no choices left but to defend their rights and take legal action to protect their business. With this challenge, SAB anticipates an urgent reversal of the decision.
SAB argued that Dlamini-Zuma’s powers are not nullified under the Disaster Management Act (DMA), stating this did not include the power to override or repeal existing legislation.
"She does not have the powers to repeal, override or contradict any existing law. She must accordingly exercise her powers within all the limitations imposed by all existing laws," the papers read.
SA Liquor Association gives partial thumbs up to alcohol sales under new Covid restrictions
On 16 June, the SA Liquor Brand Owners Association (SALBA) welcomed the decision by Ramaphosa not to enforce a total shutdown on alcohol sales.
Briefly News, at the time, reported that this was after the president announced that South Africa would be moving to Alert Level 3 of the national lockdown amid a surge in the number of positive coronavirus cases.
But the country has since moved up a notch and is currently on Level 4 of the restrictions as it experiences the third wave of coronavirus infections. The restrictions, which will remain in place until 11 July, sees a complete prohibition on the sale of alcohol.
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