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Please 'tax beer responsibly', SAB urges Tito Mboweni

09 February 2021 - 13:00 By unathi nkanjeni
SA Breweries said 'responsible tax' supports jobs in rural communities. Stock photo.
SA Breweries said 'responsible tax' supports jobs in rural communities. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Vladislavs Gorniks

SA Breweries (SAB) has made an open appeal to finance minister Tito Mboweni to “tax beer responsibly” in his upcoming budget speech.

Mboweni is set to deliver his budget speech on February 24 amid SA’s growing economic crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic took over the country more than 11 months ago.

The much-anticipated budget speech will be delivered after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday.

In a video shared on Twitter, SAB urged Mboweni to “tax beer responsibly”. This is a play on the breweries’ slogan of “enjoy responsibly”.

The breweries highlighted the potential impact of a tax hike on farmers supplying the alcohol industry, saying a “responsible tax” supports jobs in rural communities.

“SAB buys from more than 1,000 farmers locally.  The majority are emerging black female farmers. When you tax beer responsibly, it supports jobs in rural communities,” SAB said.

SAB is the maker of Carling Black Label and Castle Lite beer, among other alcoholic beverages.

In a separate tweet, SAB said stabilising the beer value chain after the third alcohol ban was challenging and any excise tax increase will affect the sustainability of the industry and economy.

At the height of the third booze ban last month, SAB cancelled R2.5bn worth of  investment reserved for the year.

An initial R2.5bn of planned expenditure was cancelled last August after a second alcohol ban was imposed.

SAB, which took the government to court regarding the constitutionality of the booze ban, also suspended the contracts of 550 temporary workers.

The breweries told BusinessLIVE the contracts of the temporary workers were suspended with immediate effect and affected staff received no income during the suspension of their contracts, including from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) as they are contract workers.

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