On 29 June 2021, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ivan Meyer wrote to the National Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to request her assistance to address specific challenges of the Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and, particularly, regarding its impact on the wine industry.
Meyer alerted the Minister to a particular problem in Section 29 of the regulations published on 27 June 2021. The regulation prohibits the transportation of liquor, except when destined for specific purposes (such as for export or the production of hand sanitisers, industrial use and others).
“There are, however,” says Meyer, “some other areas for which it is of the utmost importance that the transport of wine should be allowed.” These include:
- Transport to storage or bottling plants.
- Transport of samples to laboratories or potential buyers.
- Transport to certification bodies as per legislation.
- Transport of wine samples to venues where tasting for domestic and international competitions will take place.
- Transport of wine samples to training venues for students (e.g. registered viticulture students at Elsenburg College or the University of Stellenbosch).
- Bonafide international tourists, returning to their countries of origin, who have already bought wine in South Africa.
Minister Meyer is urgently requesting that the regulations be amended to allow for:
- As mentioned above, the transport of wine samples, the transport of wine by tourists, and the transport of wine to bottling plants and storage.
- Allow wine and liquor to be sold online and delivered to consumers’ residences via transport/courier services.
Wine is the third biggest export product of the Western Cape economy and contributes 6,5% to the province’s exports.
Meyer says implementing the above amendments to Section 29 of the regulations published on 27 June 2021 will protect the jobs of the 45 610 people who work in the primary production side of the industry and support the livelihoods of 228 053 people.