Pick n Pay CEO calls for alcohol ban to be lifted
Faced with a third wave of the coronavirus, the country has moved to alert level 4, during which on- and off-trade alcohol sales are banned. The ban is expected to last a total of two weeks when the government will assess the impact of the restrictions.
However, After a wave of violence and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which saw 161 liquor outlets and distribution centres looted and damaged Pick n Pay CEO Pieter Boone and the rest of the alcohol industry has called for the ban on the sale of alcohol to be lifted.
“We updated stakeholders earlier this week on damage to Pick n Pay and Boxer stores and infrastructure as a result of last week’s social unrest and looting. In total, 136 of our food, grocery, clothing and building stores were looted and/or burned, along with 76 liquor stores, across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Two Pick n Pay distribution centres in KZN were also severely damaged," said Pick n Pay Group CEO, Pieter Boone in a statement.
“Following up on my visit last week, I have spent yesterday and today on the ground in Gauteng and KZN, visiting our damaged stores, and meeting affected staff members, franchise partners and other stakeholders. The scale and the nature of the destruction is heartbreaking but I have been inspired by the progress made by our Pick n Pay and Boxer teams in the noble task of cleaning up, rebuilding, and restocking our stores – getting them ready to welcome customers again. The progress since I was here last week is massive. Every day, our teams are accelerating their progress and shortening their timescales. "
Boone added that only two days ago that Pick n Pay would reopen 32 of our 136 looted or damaged stores by the end of this week and that he was very pleased to be able to say that, by the end of next week, the total number of reopened stores will rise to 58 across Pick n Pay and Boxer.
“I have also visited the two Pick n Pay distribution centres in Pinetown, KZN, which were both looted and severely damaged. The progress in repairing and restocking both is remarkable, and we will soon have a fully restored supply chain network.
“I am seeing amazing progress in such a short time. My thanks go to my colleagues across Pick n Pay and Boxer, our franchise partners, and our vendors, equipment and other suppliers.
“Speaking to franchisees and independent traders in the affected areas, I firmly believe that it is time now for the President to announce a lifting of the ban on liquor sales. We have hopefully passed the peak of the Covid-19 third wave. In normal times, many independent shopkeepers depend on responsible liquor sales to sustain their businesses, and will not survive another prolonged ban. The social unrest, looting, and damage has dealt them a further body blow – as well as releasing a large amount of looted liquor into the illicit market."
Boone states that lifting the ban will be widely welcomed across the country as a positive and responsible step forward in our recovery from the events of last week.
“We are working very hard in anticipation of this step. By the end of next week, we will have repaired and be ready to reopen 28 of our 76 severely damaged liquor stores in KZN and Gauteng.
“Last week I said that South Africa was bloodied but unbowed. This week, everywhere I have been, I have seen the strength and determination of people to rise from the crisis and build a better tomorrow.”
Written by: Staff Writer.