Beer industry calls for more soldiers to combat looting, destruction

Liquor outlets, depots, warehouses, distribution centres and specialised manufacturing facilities have been targeted by looters and rioters in recent days.
Liquor outlets, depots, warehouses, distribution centres and specialised manufacturing facilities have been targeted by looters and rioters in recent days.
Image: 123rf/Jakub Godja

More than 600 retail and liquor stores have been damaged, and in some cases destroyed, says the Beer Association of SA.

Liquor outlets, depots, warehouses, distribution centres and specialised manufacturing facilities have been targeted.

Among the latest incidents, two SA Breweries (SAB) depots in KwaZulu-Natal were looted and set alight on Tuesday.

Courier company vehicles carrying alcohol and raw material such as malt for export have also been attacked.

Heineken’s Pinetown warehouse was looted on Sunday and cleaned out by Tuesday. All office and IT equipment, batteries and tyres from trucks were stolen. Crates, empty bottles and stock were also taken. Heineken’s preliminary estimation of losses suffered is in the millions.

“While private security companies have tried to protect these facilities, they have been overwhelmed by the number of looters and have received very little support from the military and police due to their lack of capacity on the ground.”

The industry said it has already been devastated as a result of the four blanket alcohol bans which put 233,547 jobs at risk with a tax revenue loss of R34.2bn and R10.2bn lost in excise revenue.

“The latest attacks will further negatively impact the million livelihoods the industry supports.”

The industry called for the deployment of more soldiers in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to support law enforcement agencies battling to restore law and order in hotspot areas.

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