POLL | Has justice been done by not lifting the alcohol ban?
The ban on alcohol sales during the lockdown remains in place, co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday.
The announcement came a day before President Cyril Ramaphosa was meant to respond to a request by the Gauteng Liquor Forum that he lift the ban imposed during the nationwide lockdown.
“The only alcohol that is allowed to be transported is that used for commercial purposes ... sanitisers. Liquor that you drink is not allowed to be exported in the same way that it is not allowed to be sold,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
Over the Easter weekend, the forum sent a letter to Ramaphosa threatening to go to the Constitutional Court if he did not lift the ban, claiming that it was “unreasonable and unconstitutional”.
The forum said since the declaration of the national state of disaster, its clients’ businesses had been “gravely” affected by the ban on selling alcohol.
“The extension of the lockdown 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.
EFF rejects lifting of booze ban
On Tuesday, the EFF wrote to Ramaphosa over the forum's threat to go to court, saying the behaviour of alcohol consumers was concerning and that was not in the public interest to lift the ban at this stage, SowetanLIVE reported.
The party's lawyer, Angelike Charalambous, said the liquor industry was not affected any differently from other non-essential businesses that are not allowed to operate.
“Alcohol distributors should not enjoy any preference. 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.”