SOUTH AFRICA: Unions call for eased alcohol restrictions

The Trade Federation Cosatu has called on the South African government to lift the temporary ban on the sale of alcohol in the country. An alternative solution suggested by the federation is to move towards more permanent changes.

The federation expressed its support did the temporary prohibition of the sale of alcohol under alert lockdown level 3 which is to aid government healthcare institutions and law enforcement structures. The prohibition is to help in dealing with the increasing rate of Covid-19 infections in the country.

However, the federation explained that about a million workers’ livelihood have been affected as a result of the ban. These workers include the farmworkers, distilleries, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and workers in restaurants, and bars.

A recommended solution by the federation was a ‘cultural shift’ towards alcohol and tighter regulation of its consumption and advertising.

According to them,

“The total banning of alcohol is not a solution and lazy and populist politicians who advocate for such are misguided. ”

They pleaded with the government to show leadership and further implored businesses in turn to show patriotism. According to them, this can be achieved by tackling the problems of alcohol ban on the economy and the alcohol abuse problem in the south African health system. They maintained that there are no permanent solutions to these problems therefore dialogue and compromise should be adopted.

Meanwhile, a Traffic Amendment Bill has been approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa and is set to be introduced in 2021. The bill will introduce a total prohibition for the consumption of alcohol by all motor vehicle operators on South Africa’s public roads.

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