South Africa’s wine industry loses R200 million weekly on exports. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week announced that the transportation of wine from the cellar to ports was banned as part of amendments to COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
Under initial lockdown rules, the transportation of wine was allowed.
At present, South Africa is the only wine-producing country globally that is not allowed to export.
Vinpro executive director, Rico Basson, said that there was no consultation with the sector ahead of the announcement.
“We got a directive on Thursday afternoon at 3 pm to say: ‘Stop everything.’ On Friday morning we had to once again inform our international market that we cannot supply. We have been lobbying extensively. On Friday, we sought legal counsel and I still do not have an answer which is very difficult to explain to producers and workers out there.”
Basson stressed that the financial pressure at a farming level was mounting.
“We have 40,000 farmworkers with three or four dependants, which makes 160,000 people that at the moment our producers are still paying because a lot of those workers are permanent in our case but no business can last without cash flow for six weeks.”
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