South African Breweries (SAB) will head to the courts to challenge the government’s ban on the sale of alcohol.
According to SAB, this is a last resort to help support their employees, suppliers, customers and consumers.
The ban has helped reduce pressure on the healthcare system amid the second wave, but SAB argues that it infringes on the rights of South Africans.
“While SAB supports all lawful measures that curb the spread of the pandemic, including an earlier curfew to limit movement, reduced indoor and outdoor capacity at gatherings, measured alcohol restriction by channel, and heightened law enforcement, we strongly disagree with the introduction of yet another outright ban on the sale of alcohol,” they wrote in a statement released Wednesday [January 6].
“SAB believes that any ban, including the current one, goes far beyond what is reasonable and necessary to contain the spread of the virus and unlawfully restricts various right that are enshrined and protected by our constitution. These include the right to freedom of trade, the right to human dignity, privacy, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity.”
They continued: “Challenging the constitutionality of the ban, which removes the South African public’s right as adults to responsibly consume a beer safely in the privacy of their own homes, is an integral part of SAB’s action. 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.”
SAB reports that they had proposed alternatives to an outright ban to the government on December 28, which included restrictions on trade channels and for trading days and hours to remain restricted for off-premise outlets.