The wine industry body Vinpro is hopeful that the Western Cape High Court will, ultimately, give the green light that would allow premier Alan Winde to overrule the controversial alcohol sales ban in this province.
Late yesterday afternoon, after a day of legal wrangling, the court reserved judgment in Vinpro’s urgent interim interdict application to enable off- and on-consumption sale of liquor in the Western Cape. In legal terms, a “reserved judgment” means that the judge needs more time to deliberate on a complex matter.
The matter appeared before Acting Judge Noluthando Nziweni.
“We are hopeful for a positive outcome and eagerly await feedback on this important principle that would govern decision-making regarding future wine sales bans,” says Vinpro MD Rico Basson.
An industry on its knees
Basson says the South African wine industry is at the edge of a cliff after its revenue streams have been cut off intermittently over the past 16 months.
“For every week that goes by even more wine-related businesses face potential closures, leaving thousands of employees struggling to feed their families,” he says.
Basson explains that after tireless efforts from the wine industry to actively engage with national government over the past 16 months, they were met by a continued lack of proper and real consultation and assistance from national government.
This left Vinpro with no other option than to pursue legal action as a last resort to urgently reopen trade and to prevent further business closures and job losses. Basson adds that the industry has been out of business for 23 weeks since the first alcohol ban.
“While we await feedback on the outcome of the interdict application, we remain committed to seeing through our main court application that is set down for hearing in the Western Cape High Court before a full bench of judges from 23 to 26 August 2021.”