Industry trade

Liquor dealers urge government to stop imposing alcohol bans as they fuel illicit trade

Cops confiscated illegal alcohol in one of the operations.

Alcohol traders in South Africa have called for practical solutions to the ban on the sale of alcohol following the publication of a report detailing the growth of illicit trade within the industry.

Over the past year, the alcohol industry has been at odds with the government over its choice to impose a series of trade bans to make hospital beds available to Covid-19 patients and hospitals free of alcohol-related trauma.

One of its main points of contention was that the bans are fueling the growth of the illicit alcohol market, which, according to a recent report by Euromonitor International, is valued at R20 billion and growing at an annual growth rate. made up 17% since 2017..

“The illicit alcohol trade has grown as an aggressive cancer under the guise of alcohol bans, which have forced consumers to buy from hitherto unknown sources, while the legal industry has been shut down by government, “Lucky Ntimane, the head of the National Liquor Traders Council, said in a statement on Saturday.

Ntimane added that the growth of the illicit market was an issue law enforcement would face for years as illegal trade was now embedded in communities, while supply and distribution networks became more sophisticated. .

“This has serious long-term consequences for the legal sector, which has lost ground to the benefit of criminal networks, as well as for the police and [SA Revenue Service], which has already lost R11.3 billion in uncollected taxes thanks to the illicit trade. “

He urged the government to work with industry to find solutions that would help manage the pandemic while maintaining the legitimate alcohol trade.

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