Gauteng Liquor Forum threatens to go to court if ban on sale of alcohol is not lifted

The Gauteng Liquor Forum wants government to lift or amend the regulation on the ban on the sale of alcohol immediately.
The Gauteng Liquor Forum wants government to lift or amend the regulation on the ban on the sale of alcohol immediately.
Image: 123RF/kzenon

The Gauteng Liquor Forum has given government until Tuesday to lift or amend the regulation on the total ban on the sale of alcohol, or it will approach the Constitutional Court.

In a letter written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the forum, which represents 20,000 micro and small businesses in Gauteng, said they operated in the pursuance not only of their financial wellbeing but also in the exercise and protection of their legal and constitutional rights.

More importantly the lockdown regulations restrict the movements of persons and goods. In particular, regulation 11B(1)(b) provides that all businesses and other entities shall cease operations during lockdown, save for essential services and goods,” the letter reads.

The forum said since the declaration of the national state of disaster, its clients’ businesses had been “gravely” affected by the prohibition on a total ban on the selling of alcohol.

The extension of the lockdown period to April 30 2020 will most likely ruin their businesses. They do not have access to other means of surviving, while the lockdown continues,” the forum said.

The forum said while it did not object to measures to ensure that the spread of the coronavirus was contained, its clients were concerned that the regulations were unconstitutional as a whole and there was no authority under the law and the constitution to issue the regulations.

It is also notable that the entire framework for disaster management is not subject to any parliamentary scrutiny and the risk for abuse of power is manifest.

The total ban on the selling of alcohol is unreasonable and it has no rational connection to the mischief which is sought to be prevented,” said the forum.

Even when the president announced an extension to the lockdown period, no opportunity was given for representations to be made on the issue of relaxing some of the draconian provisions such as the total ban on alcohol and cigarettes.”

In the letter, the forum also demands that minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma immediately remove, amend or lift the regulation which places a total ban of the selling of alcohol.

Unless we receive the written undertaking from the honourable president by no later than 12pm on Tuesday April 14 2020, our clients will have no option but to approach court on an urgent basis for appropriate relief,” the letter reads.

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