Traders plead with President Ramaphosa to allow liquor sales over weekends
Cape Town - Liquor traders are petitioning President Cyril Ramaphosa to permit the sale of alcohol over weekends.
According to the National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) the continued restrictions placed on the selling of liquor after 5pm on weekdays and no trading of liquor during weekends has put the livelihoods of well over 39900 traders and 232000 employees in jeopardy.
NLTC convener Lucky Ntimane said: “To have any chance of survival as a business in a five-day-a-week restricted environment, retail off-site consumption sellers are forced to retrench some of their workers and/or reduce salaries by almost 29% (two days of the seven-day week). This has an immediate and dramatically severe impact on employment and job security in our country.”
Ntimane said the simple and effective remedy to combat the spread of Covid-19 is to remove the disaster management restrictions on the trading days and hours of off-site consumption premises, allowing them to compete in the marketplace with the on-site consumption premises.
“As the busiest period for our members pre-lockdown was between 5pm and 6pm on weekdays and on the weekends, the current restrictions have a devastating financial impact on our members’ businesses (resulting in up to a 45% reduction in transaction numbers and up to a 30% reduction in turnover), forcing them to reduce their workforce and reduce salaries,” he said.
The alcohol industry has seen the devastating impact of the ban on the value chain. Under level 1 the sale of alcohol is allowed during the week at specific times. However, the sale of alcohol is prohibited over weekends.
Vinpro spokesperson Wanda Augustyn said: “Restrictions on the sale of wine on Saturdays and Sundays for home consumption by retailers, grocers, liquor stores and wineries will have a huge impact on the recovery of the country’s 533 wineries (70% of these are small and micro-businesses).
“The local retail industry accounts for 41% of South Africa’s wine sales and a further 11% of total sales are recovered at farm gate. Weekends are the most popular visiting time and especially important for our wine tourism businesses which depend on the local market.”