Grapes of Wrath

During this pandemic few issues have stirred as much heated and emotive debate, and provided a glimpse of the ruling parties innate authoritarian tendencies, than the banning of the sale of alcohol. The industry is wilting with job losses mounting up and downstream, while doctors welcomed the extra ICU capacity, specifically over New Years. The country’s largest brewer, SAB, has cancelled a further R2,5bn in new investment and says over 165,000 people have already lost their jobs as a result of alcohol bans. Michael Avery speaks to Department of Science & Technology and National Research Foundation research chair in vaccine-preventable diseases at Wits University, Prof Shabir Madhi; Ken Forrester, one of the doyens of the local wine industry; Maurice Smithers, Chair of the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance; & Bruce Jack, of Bruce Jack wines, about alternative approaches to outright bans.