The alcohol industry, which employs about a million people, has had the rug pulled from under it after Sunday’s surprise ban on alcohol sales, effective immediately. We asked Rico Basson, MD of Vinpro, which represents the country’s wineries, what happened, after previous co-operation between the industry and the government.
RB: The industry has engaged continuously with the government over the past few weeks. On July 6 we wrote a letter to the presidency to ask for a formal engagement around this, because a social compact needs to be a balanced way forward. The Sunday evening announcement just speaks to that: you are in these deliberations and then, without any heads-up at all, the government comes and makes a blanket ban. That’s why we were shocked.