The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) in partnership with the Liquor Independent Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA), recently commissioned research on the impact of COVID-19 Regulations on the Liquor Industry, particularly the off-site consumption liquor sector.
The research has concluded that the restricted trading four-day trading period is not only discriminatory, anti-competitive but also unsustainable. Affected liquor store owners have been forced to retrench staff, reduce wages and many have warned of possible bankruptcy and permanent closure the longer these restrictions remain. It is of concern that one of the unintended consequences of the restrictions has been the growth of the illicit market, as consumers have found a way of accessing alcohol even under restricted trading days, or when there is a total ban on liquor sales.
The CGCSA and LTASA have and continue to support national efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by balancing between saving lives and livelihoods and supporting and sustaining economic activities.
This balance is critical to ensure we minimise damage to the economy caused by lockdown restrictions. As it is, many businesses are only now beginning to recover from successive lockdowns imposed since March 2020, but sections of the liquor retail sector are on the verge of closure, with devastating economic and social consequences due to job losses. Many of these stores are independently owned and run, with a significant number owned by black females, who support families depending on liquor sales for sustenance.
The lack of scientific evidence and/or data for the continued discrimination against the off-site consumption liquor sector is concerning and to this end, the CGCSA and LTASA have been calling on the government to rescind its decision to impose trading restrictions, and work with business to find sustainable solutions.
Click on the link below to download the research report: