President has until the weekend to confirm whether alcohol ban will be relaxed

On Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will respond to a letter demanding the relaxation or lifting of the lockdown ban on alcohol sales.

This was confirmed by Eric Mabuza, attorney for the Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF). The GLF sent the president a letter of demand on Saturday. They wanted an undertaking that the ban would either be relaxed or lifted by 12:00 on April 14. “Unless we receive (it)…our clients will have no option but to approach court on an urgent basis for appropriate relief,” the letter stated.

The forum indicated that it will approach the Constitutional Court to protect their financial wellbeing as well as their legal and constitutional rights.

The GLF represents 20 000 businesses in Gauteng that make income from liquor sales. Members were upset because they were not given the opportunity to make representations on the possible relaxing of “the draconian provisions such as the total ban on alcohol and cigarettes”. The members argued that they should have been given the opportunity prior to Ramaphosa’s announcing an extended lockdown on Thursday.

Yesterday (April 14) presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said that the presidency will not respond to the forum’s litigation threat publicly. “We will do so in private and do not believe a press release will be necessary,” she told Caxton Local Media.