For SA’s sake, Mr Pres, can we have a drink? First round’s on me

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For SA’s sake, Mr Pres, can we have a drink? First round’s on me

SA’s booze ban will see organised crime thrive and huge revenue losses. Then there’s liberty to worry about

Rowan Leibbrandt

I’m a partner in a business that sells alcoholic drinks. Gin mostly, but we do — sorry, did — a bit of everything. I’m aware that there are many other industries and entrepreneurs in the same boat; other businesses that, before lockdown, also had exciting prospects. Ours had grown from a start-up I ran from my parent’s dining room table to a company of 70 people, with plans to take over the world.

I’m not only writing as someone whose livelihood, and those of the 70 people we employ, depends on our ability to sell our wares. I’m also writing as a citizen increasingly confused by what our government is hoping to achieve with the alcohol moratorium.

I think most of us grimly nodded when we were told the country was going into lockdown a few months back. Given how scary the prognosis looked, it seemed like the only solution — slow this thing down and give the hospitals some time to prepare for the unprecedented numbers of people who would need treatment. “Flatten the curve!” we shouted from the rooftops. This was a sensible response, given what we knew at the time. What is less clear is how insisting people not drink flattens anything other than one’s mood...

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