The wine industry cannot afford the extension of the ban on alcohol sales President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 11 January. Agri Western Cape has said it is disappointed that government opted for a total alcohol ban, instead of adopting an alternative approach with regard to alcohol sales.

It seems that government has also not considered proposals wine industry body VinPro made late in December last year. The industry, a major role-player in both the Western Cape and the country’s economy, has already suffered significant financial and job losses during the two previous bans on alcohol sales in 2020.

Now, more jobs tied to the wine value chain are being compromised. The extension of the alcohol ban also puts many wine producers’ financial ability to survive under pressure.

While Agri Western Cape understands the strain the healthcare system is under, the agricultural sector is getting the short end of stick due to the public’s behaviour. The hope is that President Ramaphosa sticks to his word and continues to consult with role-players for a more rational solution.

Since the announcement of the national lockdown in March 2020, government has had plenty of time to prepare for a possible second wave of infections. It is unjustifiable that an important job-creating and foreign-exchange-earning industry has to bear the brunt of the regulations. – Press release, Agri Western Cape