Alcohol coalition launches Save My Livelihood movement

The alcohol coalition, comprising of the National Liquor Traders Council, the Liquor Traders Association, the SA Liquor Brand Owners Association, Sisonke, SAB, Diageo, Heineken SA, Pernod Ricard SA, Distell and Wines of SA, has announced the launch of its united movement #SaveMyLivelihood.

The movement aims to protect the wellbeing of one million people, across the entire industry’s value chain, from the catastrophic effects that a continued ban of alcohol sales has on South Africans.

save my livelihood logo

Save My Livelihood aims to protect the wellbeing of one million people, across the entire industry’s value chain, from the catastrophic effects that a continued ban of alcohol sales has on South Africans

Protect jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic

“There is no clear way forward for a lifting of the prohibition and as a result there has naturally been a significant, and increasing, rate at which jobs in the industry are being eroded and many other stakeholder livelihoods are being rapidly destroyed. This is a time for our industry and our communities to collaborate and rally together – we must protect jobs and livelihoods while we contain the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on human life,” the coalition says, in a statement released on 28 July.

To date, South Africans have already lost R19 billion in revenues as a result of the previous suspension of alcohol sales. By the end of July there are fears that up to 150 000+ people may already see their livelihoods taken away from them. This will impact many of the most vulnerable communities in South African such as small businesses, entrepreneurs and especially tavern owners – the majority of whom are women.

The country-wide coalition of tavern owners and other retailers, manufacturers, large- and small-scale producers, farmers, and other interest groups have combined to form the #SaveMyLivelihood campaign to highlight support for those most at risk. It has asked South Africans to join the cause and to ensure they have access to accurate information on the impact of the COVID-19 prohibition of alcohol sales.

“If the alcohol ban continues, it will result in mass unemployment for our sector. The current impasse not only blocks industry from being able to help find sustainable solutions to fighting COVID-19, it is deeply hurting the very communities it aims to protect. The current prohibition of formal sales of alcohol will undoubtedly contribute to the growing poverty, hunger and unemployment in the very communities that are most vulnerable. It is having a devastating effect on small tavern owners, restaurant employees, bars and liquor stores as well as farmers, packaging and logistics companies across South Africa,” says Sibani Mngadi, spokesperson for the coalition.

Lack of complete data presented

The coalition members have also commissioned an independent methodological and statistical review of the SAMRC report which informed the banning of alcohol sales in South Africa. While the report argues that a significant public health improvement would result from an alcohol ban, the review has identified a number of study design and statistical modelling limitations, due to the lack of complete data presented, which together make the robustness of its research uncertain.

To help tell a more accurate and factual story, the coalition has called on its members, those who are directly impacted by this ban, as well as broader South Africa to visit, and share their accounts on how this ban has affected their lives and help rally the support needed to help our South Africans in need.