Pick n Pay CEO Gareth Ackerman. File photo.
Pick n Pay CEO Gareth Ackerman. File photo.

Gareth Ackerman criticises government over lack of transparency

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Apr 21, 2021

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Pick n Pay chairman Gareth Ackerman has criticised the government’s lack of transparency in making some of its decisions. He said one of those decisions was the restriction of alcohol sales.

Speaking during the release of the Pick n Pay results on Wednesday, Ackerman said the government needed to be clear when making certain decisions.

“A recent example was the alcohol ban over Easter –only at off-premises retail stores while allowing larger groups of people to gather,” he said.

“Quite how allowing people to drink at bars, restaurants and taverns was somehow safer than having a glass of wine at home was never made clear. We would hope that decision-makers start looking more closely at available and reliable data to make more informed, evidence-based policy decisions and communicate this openly and clearly to earn the confidence of South Africans and avoid making political decisions during a State of Disaster,” he said.

On Wednesday, Pick n Pay pay reported its group earnings were impacted by trading restrictions on non-essential goods and services for parts of the year, which resulted in an estimated R4 billion in lost sales, and R200 million in additional costs related to the Group’s operational response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ackerman said another of his concerns was the speed of vaccine rollout in the country. “The longer it takes, the longer South Africans remain unprotected from this terrible virus, and the greater the risk of a third wave, and the possibility of new virus variants emerging.”

According to Ackerman, Pick n pay had availed itself to help with the rollout of the vaccine.

“We have offered to do whatever we can to assist in the efficient distribution of the vaccine when it becomes available. The government needs to communicate clearly and frequently to keep citizens informed, and trusting of the process,” he said.

During his speech, Ackerman also commended the company for its environmental priorities.

“Clear action plans on environmental and social priorities strengthen the operational resilience of the business, and – by reducing cost –has also strengthened our competitiveness. We saved over R2 billion in electricity costs over the past decade.”

Ackerman also welcomed Pick n Pay’s new CEO, Pieter Boone. Richard Brasher is leaving the company after eight years.

“We conducted an extensive local, and global search for Richard’s successor, and Pieter was the outstanding candidate. He has great global experience of leading retail businesses in tough, developing markets,” he said.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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