Alcohol traders will have to wait until the end of the nationwide lockdown to resume trade like most other businesses, the office of the state attorney has said in response to the Gauteng Liquor Forum.
The state attorney, acting for President Cyril Ramaphosa, emphasised on Friday that the sale of alcohol is “not an essential service” and could derail government’s efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The president said consumption of liquor has proven to increase crimes that land people in hospitals and South Africa could ill afford to have its emergency rooms filled up when it has to deal with Covid-19 cases.
“As we have previously noted, the decision to impose a lockdown on South Africans was not taken lightly and was only taken after full consideration of all relevant factors and expert advice,” read the letter sent to the forum on Friday.
The forum, which represents more than 20 000 taverns and shebeens in Gauteng, wrote to the president on Saturday threatening to take its fight to the Constitutional Court if the president did not lift the ban on alcohol sales during the lockdown.