Covid-19: SAB pleads with government, 400 million beers to be dumped

Covid-19: SAB pleads with government, 400 million beers to be dumped

- Mzansi's largest brewery, South African Breweries, wants the government to allow alcohol sales during Level 4 lockdown

- SAB has publicly been pleading with the National Command Council to relax the current ban

- The group insists that the longer they are unable to operate, the 'bigger the ripple effect' will be

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South African Breweries has called on the government to allow for alcohol sales during Level 4 lockdown.

Over the past few days, the country's largest brewer has been pleading with the National Command Council, which has been calling the shots amid the pandemic.

R285 billion in revenue has been lost during lockdown, with SAB's director of regulatory and public policy Hellen Ndlovu indicating that the group is in talks with the state and are hopeful a concession can be made.

“We have submitted our proposal to the National Command Council for alcohol to be sold under lockdown Level 4, with conditions. We are engaging them on the matter, and we do hope that we will reach common ground on the matter, sooner rather than later.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: 41% say they still buy smokes, booze during lockdown

Similar to the ban on cigarettes, Ndlovu says the current ban will encourage illegal trade, reports IOL.

“We know from experience that any regulatory measures that interfere with the normal trade of the alcohol market will result in a growth in the illicit trade, so we were very apprehensive from the outset when a ban was announced.
"Also, South Africa has a fully functional illicit alcohol market which is ready to capitalise on any ban implemented. Apart from the imminent negative impact on the market, a ban on sales would have a severe impact on our business as well."

The Daily Voice reports that the brewery may be forced to dump 400 million bottles of beer should it not obtain permission to transport it to storage depots.

The government will be potentially losing R2 billion is tax, with SAB forced to consider laying off 50% of its 4 000 citizen workforce.

This could potentially put 75 000 jobs in the domestic supply chain on the line with SAB saying it would be prompted to operate on 50% capacity for months after the lockdown is eventually lifted.

It says the government stands to lose up to R2 billion in excise tax, while SAB may have to shed 2 000 jobs. reported that the ban on alcohol and cigarettes has been met with fierce retaliation. Many citizens have admitted to turning to black-market alternatives despite the risk involved.

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