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Alcohol traders call for end to state of disaster, relief package for traders

A man sorts through his alcohol at a liquor store. Liquor traders want President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce tavern and relief package to all registered tavern outlets. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

A man sorts through his alcohol at a liquor store. Liquor traders want President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce tavern and relief package to all registered tavern outlets. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 9, 2022

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Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa must phase out the current national state of disaster and allow the Department of Health to fully take over the responsibility of handling health matters pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is according to the National Liquor Traders in an open letter to Ramaphosa.

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The state of disaster was implemented in March 2020, in line with the Disaster Management Act, following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

Traders also want Ramaphosa to allow the parliamentary process to resume and hold the executive accountable on how it dealt with Covid-19 issues.

Convenor of traders Lucky Ntimane said Ramaphosa must use the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday to announce the end of the state of disaster.

In addition, he said, the liquor traders expected the president to announce relief packages to all registered tavern outlets.

According to him, each tavern outlet should be paid a sum of R20 000.

"It is no secret that this administration has had to spend more time dealing with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and nuances linked to this. It is easy to grant this as a safe passage and perfect scapegoat for government's inability to support small businesses in their hour of need," Ntimane said.

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Among other expectations by the liquor traders were for Sona to be used to introduce universal liquor laws instead of having each province formulate its legislation.

Traders were against an increase of excise duty levied on alcohol products for the current fiscal year.

The president, according to traders, should use Sona to abolish the regulations that prevent the government's lending agencies from assisting liquor outlets with funding. They further expected Ramaphosa to announce an alcohol harm reduction strategy to deal with harm caused by alcohol.

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Traders also called for the Minister of Department of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel to be shown the door for not "doing something to change the economic fortunes of our country".

Pretoria News

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