Durban – Government Business leader and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma says they have started a campaign to protect the liquor industry from an illegal alcohol manufacturing syndicate in KwaZulu-Natal.
Duma said: “We wish to announce that we have started a campaign to protect our local and honest entrepreneurs in the liquor industry from a criminal syndicate behind illegal alcohol manufacturing in KwaZulu-Natal.”
The announcement comes after suspects were arrested for illegally manufacturing alcohol in Westmead, Pinetown, on Tuesday.
Police said that branded boxes, tons of liquor, a matrix printer and bottle caps, all valued at approximately R400 000, were recovered and seized. The three suspects were aged between 29 and 42 years old.
Duma said that this follows a joint operation undertaken by our entity, KZN Liquor Authority, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Diego South Africa, the country’s leading premium spirits company with a manufacturing plant in Isipingo, south of Durban.
“According to our figures, on average, regulated alcohol production contributes R72 billion to the South African economy through taxation, VAT and excise,” Duma said.
“Apart from the fact that more than R11.3 billion in tax revenue is lost due to the illicit alcohol trade, we remain worried about job losses and the health of unsuspecting consumers.”
Duma said that the KZN Liquor Authority has ensured the licensing of township and rural-based entrepreneurs as part of stimulating township and rural economy. To date, our entity is servicing more than 8 000 liquor licence holders throughout the corners of the province.
“The tavern industry is estimated to be worth between R40bn and R60bn and accounts for 80 to 90% of township alcohol sales and 43% of all alcohol sold in South Africa,” Duma said.
He said KZN is contributing tremendously to the national figures. Importantly, the liquor industry has a wide and deep value chain employing almost thousands of people.
“Finally, as the department, we affirm our commitment to protect our economy and local liquor licence holders from counterfeit alcohol that is flooding the market,” Duma said.
He said they acknowledge that the liquor industry remains critical in ensuring socio-economic development.
“Many other sectors of our economy, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment, rely heavily on the liquor industry. A thriving liquor industry is therefore in the interest of this province,” Duma said.
“In this regard, we undertake to strengthen our working relations with our law enforcement agencies, SA Revenue Services, National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brand-owners Association, the Beer Association of South Africa, Vinpro, the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa and alcohol manufacturers.”
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