Basa takes government to court over previous ‘irrational’ alcohol bans

Basa takes government to court over previous ‘irrational’ alcohol bans

Basa takes government to court over previous ‘irrational’ alcohol bans
Basa takes government to court over previous ‘irrational’ alcohol bans

The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) claims that prior alcohol prohibitions have had a terrible effect on the sector, and has petitioned the South African High Court to declare the judgments illogical and invalid, and to have them overturned.

“The application focuses on the decisions by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to enforce alcohol bans in July and December 2020, June 2021 as well as the decision to continue imposing further restrictions on the trade of liquor in and during July 2021,” Basa said in a statement.

The association says the booze industry lost R42.2 billion in retail sales, while R60.7 billion was lost to GDP.

Furthermore, the overall excise income tax loss was R10.2 billion, putting about 233,000 employment in jeopardy. By January 11, 2021, 30 percent of local breweries had been forced to close permanently, resulting in the loss of 165,000 jobs.

“The bans also served as a major boost to the illicit alcohol industry which grew to be worth more than R20.5 billion in 2020,” Basa added.

Basa noted that due to no evidence having been provided by government to support its decisions to impose the previous bans, it’s application argues that it failed to take into account the devastating impact of the bans on the alcohol industry and for this reason, (among others) these decisions are reviewable and destined to be set aside in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (Paja).

“Furthermore, Basa argues that if the court finds that Paja is not applicable in this application, then the decisions to ban alcohol – being the exercise of a public power – may be reviewed and set aside in terms of the principle of legality. This principle requires all exercises of public power to be rational,” the association added.

“Basa contends that the decision to ban alcohol could not be rational in light of there being no evidence to date which government considered and presented regarding the adverse financial implications to the alcohol industry and/or how it would serve to boost to the illicit alcohol industry. Therefore, the previous alcohol bans should also be declared constitutionally invalid.”

According to Basa, another alcohol ban over the coming festive season will serve as the final nail in the coffin for thousands of businesses and citizens who just barely survived the previous bans. It says if anything, it expects some recovery in the tourism and hospitality sector over the holiday period.

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