The South African Breweries (SAB), like all South Africans, is extremely concerned with the rapid resurgence and spread of COVID-19 cases. From the onset of the pandemic we have stood behind the nation, from the production and donation of hand sanitizers, to support of the hospitality industry.
We heeded the President’s call to form a social compact with industry players and social partners to actively reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol, especially amongst the select consumers who unfortunately, have not behaved responsibly. A firm belief of ours, that needs to be reiterated to those consumers who choose to behave irresponsibly with our products, is that our products are not for you.
As brewers we enable socialization, drive moderation and champion responsible consumption. Thousands of our employees have enabled us to step up our fight against the pandemic, proposing and implementing several interventions that if implemented along with other social measures, would support the objective of flattening the curve, saving lives and simultaneously protecting livelihoods.
However, as an organization we respectfully disagree with the alcohol ban as announced yesterday, which took place with minimal consultation. Our industry supports over one million livelihoods throughout our value chain, across farming, retail, manufacturing, logistics and many SMMEs whose livelihoods are at stake due to the suspension of alcohol trading.
We cannot agree that our sector is continuously criminalized and called out as the most significant cause of the recent increase cases in South Africa. Our industry, our colleagues and our families cannot be discriminated against. We judge this as not only unfair but that it disregards the more than 125 years of effort and dedication we have delivered together.
In light of the announcement, we at SAB will consider all options and pursue every possible alternative to protect the lives and livelihoods that depend on us, in order to continue operating responsibly and to generate the economic upliftment that is so desperately required for our country now.
And, if allowed, we will continue to support South Africa to fight the pandemic and rise together, stronger than ever.