Government's masses of paperwork delays booze ban case

Vinpro's challenge against Covid-19 lockdown liquor ban postponed until August

Vinpro's challenge against nationwide liquor bans, which was set to be heard on Wednesday and Thursday, has been postponed until August this year. Stock photo.
Vinpro's challenge against nationwide liquor bans, which was set to be heard on Wednesday and Thursday, has been postponed until August this year. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/jeka81

The legal challenge by wine producer body Vinpro against the government, whereby the body is contesting specific aspects of decision-making in respect of liquor bans, has been postponed until August.

Vinpro wants the court to make an order that the Western Cape should have the power to make alcohol legislation during the state of disaster.

The matter was set to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday and Thursday before a full bench of judges.

However, the matter could not proceed due to the late filing of a number of answering affidavits by national government.

Vinpro said in addition to the late filing of the affidavits, the government was seeking to incorporate more than 1,000 pages of materials from another court case the challenge brought by SA Breweries against the ban into the Vinpro matter, which could not be dealt with in the limited time available.

“We are extremely disappointed by the postponement of this court case, but the late filing and incorporation of additional affidavits that are not related to the main thrust of Vinpro’s challenge, effectively forced the postponement,” Vinpro MD Rico Basson said.

He said new available dates for the legal teams and judges allocated to the matter had to be found.

Basson said national government was also represented by three teams of advocates and an earlier date suitable to all of the advocates could not be found.

“Vinpro has objected from the outset against the large contingent of advocates representing national government,” Basson said.

He said Vinpro would continue with its court case, challenging among other things that the wrong level of government (national) has been dealing with decision-making regarding the retail sale of liquor during the national state of disaster.

He said Vinpro is expected to argue that the implementation of nationwide bans by national government were overly broad, unnecessary, unjustified and counterproductive. 

“National government is arguing, in particular, that it cannot exempt the Western Cape or other provinces from future liquor bans, even if there is more than enough hospital capacity, because it does not have the resources to put up roadblocks to prevent liquor from being exported to other provinces,” said Basson.

TimesLIVE


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