Cosatu joins fight for resumption of liquor sales | #students | #parents

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has officially joined the fight to lift the ban on alcohol during the national lockdown. 

Cosatu Parliamentary Coordinator Matthew Parks, in an interview on eNCA, listed the reasons as to why the alcohol ban should be lifted and what regulations should be in place once the sale of liquor is allowed. 


Parks, first and foremost, said Cosatu has always supported the government’s objectives in saving workers lives and dealing with cases of alcohol abuse. Parks, on behalf of Cosatu, said a balance needs to be found when it comes to the alcohol ban.

While he agreed that hospitals were being filled with car accident victims and victims of domestic violence, as a result of alcohol abuse, he said government also needs to understand that mass unemployment is at stake due to the alcohol ban. 

“Equally, we also have to bear in mind that hundreds of thousands of workers depend upon the sale of alcohol in legal companies, from farms to the distilleries, to the transportation systems to the manufacturers to the retailers to the restaurants etc, so we need to get the balance right,” he said. 

“For us, the government lockdown, including the ban on the sale of alcohol, was a temporary measure to give space to the hospitals to focus on corona victims,” he added.  

Parks said now we also have the challenge of saving up to three-quarters of a million jobs and the entire value chain of the alcohol industry. Parks said Cosatu is supporting a gradual re-sale of alcohol but under certain conditions once the ban is lifted. 

“So we’re supporting a gradual re-sale of alcohol but under certain conditions that need to be limiting how much you can sell to a particular individual. Banning certain persons like young people, not allowing any alcohol content in your blood whilst you drive, limiting the sales of how much alcohol you can buy at a sit-down venue like a restaurant or a bar,” he said. 

Parks said we also need to recognise the limitations on what government can do. 

“Government cannot police us and manage how much we drink, we have to be responsible as consumers and not drink excessively,” he added. 


While the alcohol ban is being scrutinised, so is the ongoing cigarette ban. The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), during its ongoing legal battle to have the ban lifted, slammed Dlamini-Zuma for taking decisions without scientific evidence. 

FITA claims that citizens have been smoking despite the ban which, therefore, leaves it with no basis. Questioning the Cogta minister’s powers and influence over the rest of Cabinet, Fita said: 

“The prohibition in question and in the context of the ministerial decree is unprecedented in SA and is currently not in place anywhere else in the world. Clear direction from the courts is also urgently needed to prevent executive overreach. The cigarette ban has failed to stop people smoking, therefore, it has no basis.”

“Dlamini-Zuma has continued to disregard the need to give due and proper weight to issues of fundamental importance such as far-reaching economic, physical, psychological and social considerations. The surveys relied upon by the minister were themselves without probative value and particularly unscientific and crude.”

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