Wine industry’s court challenge against booze ban postponed again

Nivashni Nair Senior reporter
The wine industry wants the ban on the sale of wine in the Western Cape lifted. Stock photo.
The wine industry wants the ban on the sale of wine in the Western Cape lifted. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ROSTISLAYSDLACEK

The wine industry’s court application against government’s 14-day lockdown level 4 booze ban has been postponed again.

The case was due to be heard in the Western Cape high court on Wednesday after it was postponed on July 2.

However, there are no judges available to hear the urgent interim interdict application.

Vinpro, which is leading the case, said on Tuesday night the interim interdict application was confirmed to the roll of July 7 for a hearing after it launched an urgent application on June 29, when the latest liquor ban came into force.

“The two duty judges for the hearing of urgent applications this week both indicated earlier this week they will unfortunately not be in a position to hear the interim interdict application tomorrow as they have already been appointed to hear Vinpro’s main application set down for hearing from August 23 to 26. No alternative judges are available.”

The organisation represents about 2,600 wine and grape producers.

Vinpro’s legal team immediately approached the judge president on an urgent basis to arrange for the hearing of the interim interdict application before a new judge on a date to be arranged.

“We are extremely disappointed by this turn of events and are in urgent consultation with our legal team on the way forward,” said Vinpro managing director Rico Basson.

Vinpro has listed President Cyril Ramaphosa as the first respondent, traditional affairs and co-operative governance minister Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma as the second respondent and Western Cape premier Alan Winde as the third respondent in their court papers.

It wants the ban on the sale of wine in the Western Cape - known for its world-class wines - lifted.

In its court application, the non-profit organisation said its wants the ban lifted on transportation of liquor and off-site consumption in the Western Cape only. It argued it was not challenging the ban on on-site consumption in bars, taverns and shebeens anywhere in the country, including the Western Cape. It said after a court ruling overturned the tobacco ban last year, the liquor industry is the only consumer product targeted by government bans as part of the fight against Covid-19.

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