Minister of Transport Fikile Mbulula has gazetted new regulations that allow for South African wines to be exported during the lockdown period.
“The Minister of Transport signed off the below regulations which relates to wine exports. We would like to acknowledge the speed at which government has responded to us as well as their support of our industry,” reads a joint statement by the country’s main authorities in wine – Vinpro, Salba and Wines of South Africa.
Mbulula’s decision to allow wines to be exported has been lauded by the wine industry, which would have made little to no revenue during the lockdown period as the sale of wine and alcohol is prohibited across South Africa.
“During the lockdown period, the transportation of the wines and any other fresh produce products at the seaports and international airports designated as a port of entry for export is allowed,” the gazette reads. “Agricultural cargo is allowed to be transported to seaports and international airports designated as ports of entry and exported to the relevant destination.”
According to the joint statement, all wines exported must already be packaged and bulked before it may be transported to the relevant country.
“Our interpretation of the published directions therefore allows the transportation of wine that is ready for export, both packaged and bulk. Thus, the starting up of bottling lines and production is NOT what the minister has granted us permission for,” the bodies say.
“We would like to urge all wine members to follow the said protocol that is recommended for both packaged and bulk wine. We do not want to commit to one thing and doing another. In the interest of maintaining relationships with government and showing our commitment to fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, please apply the social distancing measures, keep staff at home wherever possible, use skeleton staff when loading containers. We would also like to encourage the use of forklifts as opposed to employees packing containers by hand,” they added.