The booze ban - and the litigation against it - continues...

In a recent report by Business Day, South African Breweries (SAB) wants to fight the latest alcohol ban in court as its last resort to protect the liquor industry.

SAB seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the blanket ban on alcohol sales. Some of the constitutional rights the organisation claims are being infringed include the right to freedom of trade, the right to human dignity and privacy, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity, reports Business Tech.

The liquor industry claims the ban has already deeply impacted jobs and the livelihoods of those directly and indirectly involved in the sector. In addition to this, they have recently made an application to skip, rather than for the suspension of, tax payments, which roughly amount to R2.5 billion.

“The damage to the South African economy and impact on the alcohol value chain arising from the ban on the sale of alcohol is, in SAB’s view, disproportional and unlawful," says Business Tech.

SAB believes there were alternatives to the blanket booze ban that were not taken into consideration that could have ensured the safety of the public in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and maintained the sustainability of the liquor industry. Some of these alternatives include restricted trading days and hours, private consumption of alcohol, and an earlier curfew. All these "would have been reasonable and effective in supporting the healthcare system and would help to mitigate transmission of the virus, while still preserving livelihoods and keeping the economy open," says SAB.

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