South African Breweries Takes Legal Action Against Government After Third Alcohol Ban

The AB InBev subsidiary will take on the South African government’s third alcohol sales ban in court: challenging the constitutionality of the ban. Legal action is the last resort available to us to protect our employees, suppliers and all the livelihoods we support, says South African Breweries (SAB).

The South African government introduced a nationwide ban for the third time during the pandemic on 28 December 2020. 

“After much consideration, SAB has decided to approach the courts to challenge the constitutionality of the decision taken and process followed by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to re-ban the sale of alcohol.

“This legal action is the last resort available to SAB in order to protect our employees, suppliers, customers, consumers and all the livelihoods we support.”

SAB said that it shares government’s concerns regarding the second Covid-19 resurgence and that it supports all lawful measures that curb the spread of the pandemic, including:

  • An earlier curfew to limit movement, reduced indoor and outdoor capacity at gatherings;
  • Measured alcohol restrictions by channel;
  • Heightened law enforcement.

However, SAB said that it strongly disagrees with the introduction of yet another outright ban on the sale of alcohol.

“SAB believes that any ban, including the current one goes far beyond what is reasonable and necessary to contain the spread of the virus and unlawfully restricts various rights that are enshrined and protected by our constitution.

“These include the right to freedom of trade, the right to human dignity, privacy, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity.”

The group said that challenging the constitutionality of the ban, which removes the South African public’s right as adults to responsibly consume a beer safely in the privacy of their own homes, is an integral part of its court action.

“The damage to the South African economy and impact on the alcohol value chain arising from ban on the sale of alcohol is, in SAB’s view, disproportional and unlawful.”

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