Eswatini Beverages Limited (EBL) has welcomed the Prime Ministers announcement to lift the alcohol ban effective October 26.
The beverages company further reaffirmed its support in the fight against Covid-19 and commitment to the economic recovery of Eswatini.
“We believe that opening up the economy and lifting the ban on alcohol is an important move for our economy. Lifting of the prohibition on the sale of alcohol will come as a welcome relief for our business and industry, and the thousands of livelihoods who depend on us. We fully understand that the situation requires vigilance and adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols, and we want to reassure our partners in government that we remain committed to supporting the national effort to curb the spread of this virus. We acknowledge and appreciate the balancing act between managing lives and livelihoods,” said Mpumelelo Makhubu, Head Legal and Corporate Affairs at EBL.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the country’s economy. It is now the imperative of all Emaswati to participate in ensuring a sustainable and inclusive economic growth path. EBL, as one of Eswatini’s largest corporate citizens sustaining a direct workforce of over 250 people, is looking forward to supporting the industry in contributing to the national economy. “Over twenty thousand livelihoods depend on the alcohol industry’s value chain, and 15 000 livelihoods depend on EBL alone. We are looking forward to reinitiating the process of job creation and responsible growth for the industry, with an ultimate objective of returning confidence to ensure sustainability for all these livelihoods,” stated Makhubu.
“We must now focus on economic recovery as we chart our way into the future. The resumption of responsible trade is essential and we look forward to participating with all social and economic partners, both small and large, in this essential redress for the benefit of our employees, all other stakeholders and our national economy.”
Makhubu said that although times are challenging, EBL’s purpose of bringing people together for a better world has not changed. “Our beers are to be enjoyed moderately and responsibly and therefore we do not condone reckless behavior of any kind, especially as we fight to contain the spread of this virus.
“We are committed to being part of the solution and will continue to support Government efforts in its response to the pandemic,” Makhubu added.
Unpacking the conditions of sale the premier said manufacturers of alcohol shall operate as per their normal operating hours while distributors, wholesalers and retailers shall operate on Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm.
He said there shall be no liquor sale on weekends, and liquor shall be sold for home use only.
“Drinking in public places, at picnics and the hosting of house parties will not be allowed while hotel residents are to consume liquor in their rooms,” said the PM.
“Liquor will only be served with meals in restaurants, in glasses or tumblers while liquor sharing is prohibited,” stated the PM. He said that liquor businesses shall provide screening for all workers and clients when entering their premises, adding that it is the responsibility of liquor businesses to enforce COVID19 guidelines during the lifting of the ban.
We are still strategizing on alcohol ban- REPS
The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) has said as a result of government’s decision to reopen alcohol sales outlets they are planning on operations that will see the maintaining of peace and order.
The lifting of the alcohol ban in countries especially in the neighboring Republic of South Africa has seen an escalation of criminal activities which meant the law enforces had to up their game and brought the situation under control. There was also a reported rise in traffic accidents, with the causers found to be irresponsible imbibers.
“We are still strategizing on how to intensify our operations and will get back to you over a couple of days,” said Police PRO, Superintended Phindile Vilakati.
On October 12 the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on behalf of government announced that the protracted ban on alcohol sales and distribution had been lifted but also warned against irresponsible behavior. The PM stated that as of October 26 alcohol outlets would begin to operate, from Monday to Friday (9 am-5 pm). No sales of the beverages will be allowed on the weekends.
Government also ruled that the beverages will be for home consumption only, which effectively means it is a criminal offence to be found imbibing in the street or elsewhere. They also banned house parties and all other outings which would come with the use of alcohol.