EFF enters alcohol ban fray, sends legal letter to Ramaphosa
The EFF has argued that the Gauteng Liquor Forum should not enjoy any preference after it threatened to take President Cyril Ramaphosa to court if he fails to amend the national lockdown regulations.
The forum gave the 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 addressed to Ramaphosa, the EFF requested to make representations regarding the forum’s ultimatum.
“Alcohol distributors should not enjoy any preference,” EFF lawyer, Angelike Charalambous said.
“If the government is concerned about the effect of the ban on small businesses, it can make provision for them to claim its funds and initiatives.”
In the letter, Charalambous said: “Our client’s view is that should the removal, amendment or upliftment of the regulation banning the sale of alcoholic beverages take place at, there is a risk that shebeens and taverns will be open to operate which will completely eliminate the purpose of the lockdown.”
Charalambous argued that alcohol consumers will be entitled to gather, buy, and consume alcohol, and the risk of the spread of the virus will exacerbate tenfold.
“It is not fair to other small businesses to lift the ban solely for alcohol distributors. Many other small businesses are suffering due to the lock down such as hair salons, car washes and many other sole proprietors,” Charalambous said.
“Our client is concerned that that the upliftment, removal or amendment of the regulation banning the sale of alcohol take place, a pandora’s box will be opened and all small non-essential businesses will attempt to jump on the wagon.”
In a letter written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the liquor traders 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.
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