Liquor traders call on govt not to ban alcohol sales as illicit trade thrives

National Liquor Traders Council spokesperson Lucky Ntimane said, according to the Euro-Monitor report, illicit traders were now embedded in communities, with sophisticated supply and distribution networks.

FILE: SAB beer crates are being gathered as the Fenyane Bottle store prepares for alcohol sales to resume on 18 August 2020. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm. Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni. Picture: Sthembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s liquor traders have called for practical solutions to the ban of alcohol sales following the release of a report detailing the growth of the illicit trade within the industry.

There are concerns that government would impose stricter measures as the country sees an increase in new COVID-19 infections.

National Liquor Traders Council spokesperson Lucky Ntimane said, according to the Euro-Monitor report, illicit traders were now embedded in communities, with sophisticated supply and distribution networks.

“The illicit alcohol traders grow like an aggressive cancer under the cover of the alcohol bans which forcer consumers to buy from previously unheard-of sources. Thanks to the alcohol bans, since the onset of COVID-19, the illicit alcohol trade now accounts for 20% of the alcohol market by volume.”

He said another booze ban will cripple the industry, and that the government should instead look at restrictions on gatherings and curfews.

“We appeal to government to work with us on practical solutions that will help to manage the pandemic effectively, instead of causing untold damage to local township businessmen and women whose only sin is that they comply with the laws of the country.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address South Africans soon, however, no date or time has been announced yet for the so-called “family meeting.”

Two major meetings took place this week between Cabinet and the coronavirus command council, setting the stage for Rampahosa’s address.

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