In the wake of the disorder the country has seen during the past week due to looting, violence and destruction of property in certain provinces, the country once again faces unprecedented challenges. So too does the South African wine industry.
And while the industry stands in solidarity with all businesses and individuals affected by the events that unfolded last week, the wine industry itself is at the edge of a cliff after its revenue stream has been cut off intermittently over the past 16 months.
“Many legal, tax-paying wine and tourism businesses, especially smaller companies who do their part to keep the economy afloat, are facing potential closures, leaving thousands of employees struggling to feed their families,” says Rico Basson, Vinpro MD. “This, while illicit trade continues to flourish, including the looting of various liquor traders and distributors last week.”
Urgent interventions are needed to rebuild our sector that is on its knees due to overbroad decisions that have not been based on sound empirical data. These interventions include the responsible reopening of the legal wine trade according to a risk-adjusted approach which differentiates between provinces. Law and order needs to prevail with regard to the abuse/misuse of alcohol, including illicit trade, as well as the enforcement of regulations in place and financial relief and tangible support from Government is crucial to help rebuild this sector. Lastly a partnership model is needed to ensure a targeted approach towards harm reduction and behavioural change.
“Vinpro continues to pursue these objectives,” says Basson. “A continued lack of consultation and assistance from National Government unfortunately means that we need to pursue legal action as a last resort to urgently reopen trade and prevent further business closures and job losses.
“We can confirm that our legal team is ready to argue our urgent interim interdict application in the Western Cape High Court which is confirmed for Wednesday, 21 July 2021. This would allow the Premier of the Western Cape the power to adopt deviations to the national ban to enable off- and on-consumption sale of liquor in the province. If successful, Vinpro will approach the court to seek similar relief for other provinces.
“We also remain committed to seeing through our main court application that is set down for hearing in the Western Cape High Court before a full bench from 23 to 26 August 2021.”
Issued by: Vinpro
Tel: 021 276 0458