Pretoria - The South African Breweries (SAB) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to move the country to a reduced lockdown level three and officially re-open the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“We believe that opening up the economy and moving the country to alert level three is an important step towards economic recovery. It is an important affirmation that livelihoods and lives are both important considerations in curbing the spread of Covid-19,” said Zoleka Lisa, vice president of corporate affairs at SAB.
She said the recent destruction of property and wide-scale looting that swept the country “submerged” the alcohol industry into further decimation and put countless more jobs at risk.
“Lifting the prohibition on alcohol sales comes as a welcome relief for our industry and the livelihoods that depend on us,” said Lisa.
She said with the headwinds facing the South African economy, it is now imperative for all South Africans to participate in ensuring a sustainable and inclusive economic growth path.
“Over 250 000 livelihoods depend on the beer value chain, alone and over one million livelihoods are supported by the alcohol industry. We look forward to reinitiating the process of job creation and responsible growth for the industry, with an ultimate objective of returning confidence to ensure sustainability for all these livelihoods,” said Lisa.
“We must now focus on economic recovery as we chart our way into the future. For our industry, the resumption of responsible trade is essential and we look forward to participating with our social and economic partners, both small and large, in safely reopening our sector.”
She added that the SAB, along with the rest of the alcohol industry, has come together to affirm its commitment to partnering with the government to create a social compact for driving positive behavioural change regarding the harmful consumption of alcohol.
“We are hopeful that this is the beginning of a new era for the industry’s partnership with government and in the spirit of inclusiveness, we can ensure a positive and beneficial impact for all stakeholders into the future,” said Lisa.
On Sunday night, Ramaphosa announced that South Africa was moving to adjusted level 3, which means restaurants can reopen and alcohol sales can resume.
“The latest figures suggest that we have largely passed the peak of the third wave of infections, although there are areas in the country where we still need to be concerned because the rates of infection have not yet shown signs of decline,” Ramaphosa said.
The president said that Cabinet had decided that the country should be moved from Adjusted Alert Level 4 and be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 3.
“The overall decline in new infections means that it is possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol,” Ramaphosa said.
African News Agency (ANA)