Article by Khanyi Moshia
South Africa is heading towards its 4th week of the nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The lockdown has prompted the President to ban the sale of alcohol and cigarettes within the duration of the lockdown.
The lawyers that represent the Gauteng Liquor Forum, a body of over 20000 tarvens and shebeens threatened the President with a lawsuit, in an attempt to propel the government to award their clients the go-ahead to sell alcohol during the lockdown period.
The Liquor Forum demanded the ban on alcohol to be lifted, and for the President to allow resellers to operate at certain times, while adhering to the lockdown regulations in terms of hygiene and social distancing precautions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, urged the liquor forum to reconsider their decision to take the government to court over the sales of alcohol, especially during the hard times that we as a country are faced with.
The Gauteng Liquor Forum gave the President until Friday the 17th of April 2020 to provide them with a substantial response, or face the reality of forums go ahead with approaching the court of law.
Unfortunately, the President empathetically denied the request to ease the restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Given the vulnerability alcohol could cause to the human immune system and weakening it, in a time where the country is attempting to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus and the fatality rate, it was only but a sensible decision for the president to decline the forums request.
In a surprising turn of events, the Gauteng Liquor Forum retreated and said on Saturday – the 18th of April 2020 – it would not continue with its contemplated legal action to test the constitutional validity of the lockdown regulations at the moment, provided the state tells them whether the lockdown would be extended or not by Thursday, 23rd April 2020.