Court case to decide on alcohol sales in South Africa

Johannesburg – Vinpro, a non-profit company representing 3,500 South African wine producers, will head to court on Monday (23 August) to fight the government’s ongoing alcohol ban and fully reopen the industry.

South Africa has faced complete alcohol sales bans on four separate occasions since the end of March 2020 as part of the country’s lockdown restrictions.

The country’s current adjusted level 3 lockdown, which came into effect on 26 July, says the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption is permitted between 10h00 and 18h00 from Monday to Thursday.

Alcohol sales for on-site consumption are permitted as per licence conditions up to 8pm.

Vinpro is now contesting the approach followed by the government towards liquor ban restrictions within the Disaster Management Act.

The case will be heard in the Western Cape High Court from 23 to 26 August 2021.

“Since the start of this pandemic, we have argued that the provinces, not the national government, should decide whether or not to impose liquor restrictions and should do so with reference to provincial circumstances, including the need to preserve capacity in trauma units in hospitals in the province,” said Vinpro managing director Rico Basson.

“We know provinces are affected differently by the pandemic; therefore, we believe a differentiated approach in handling the crisis is needed to limit the economic impact of a lockdown.”

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