Heineken SA has rubbished claims that it has been forced to shut down

Heineken SA is not shutting down.
Heineken SA is not shutting down.
Image: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER

Heineken SA has rubbished claims it has been forced to shut down production entirely due to the Covid-19 lockdown and ban on alcohol sales.  

The beer brand issued a statement this week after media reports that it has been forced to shut down production.

 The company said it is still in operation and is not closing, despite the immense pressure placed on the industry to retain jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Local production is hampered, resulting in ongoing efforts by the business to implement cost-cutting measures including, but not limited to, salary cuts as we desperately attempt to protect the jobs of more than 900 employees,” said the company.  

It said about 117,000 jobs were lost in the industry during the first ban on alcohol sales.

The beer brand's portfolio includes Heineken, Amstel, Windhoek, Sol, Miller Genuine Draft, Strongbow Cider, Soweto Gold, and Tafel Lager.

“Countless businesses that rely on Heineken have had to close their doors or scale down their operations because of the sudden nature of the government’s decision to stop the sale of alcohol,” said Heineken.

“This has caused job losses and untold suffering, stress and panic, with an estimated one million livelihoods at risks.”

The company urged the government to prioritise both lives and livelihoods.

“We are willing to work with government on specific issues that negatively affect our society. The industry demonstrated its commitment in the initial resumption of trade, by delivering numerous solutions to ensure safe and responsible trading throughout our value chain. We urge the government to prioritise both lives and livelihoods at this time.”

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Rethinking expansion in Durban

The beer brand is rethinking plans to expand the company's footprint in Durban.

Heineken SA’s corporate affairs director Millicent Maroga said the proposed R6bn expansion would create 400 jobs.

Speaking on 702, Maroga said Heineken was also trying its “level best to make sure that we protect jobs during this difficult time”.

“We have a few interventions in place, one of course is looking at prioritising our expansion ambitions and one of those was the exploration of the potential brewery in Durban which we are unfortunately putting on hold,” said Maroga.

“We have, of course, put in place salary cut measures to ensure that we protect full-time jobs and also protect the jobs that we create indirectly through our outsource service partners.”


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