Minister Meyer welcomes amendments to section 29 of Alert Level 4 Regulations
I welcome the news that following my letter to the national Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, Section 29 of the Alert Level-4 Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions dated June 2021 have now been amended.
The amendment allows liquor, including wine, to be transported from manufacturing plants to storage and from licensed premises for safekeeping. This is incredibly important for businesses in this sector.
However, I am disappointed that the amendments do not allow wine and liquor to be sold online and delivered to consumers' residences via transport/courier services, as was also requested. This was a common-sense way to prevent gatherings but still allow for sales to continue.
I am also perplexed that the amended regulations make no allowance for the transport of wine samples. Not doing so will impact our wine exports as samples of each batch of wine destined for foreign countries undergo detailed tasting tests and chemical analysis in the laboratories before export licences are granted. Moreover, it impacts the wine industry's ability to improve the quality of its wines and participate in wine competitions.
Wineries depend on wine scores and ratings to move their product efficiently: they primarily rely on high profile wine competitions to help drive brand awareness and create excitement for their wines.
As I highlighted in my letter, wine, in particular, is the third biggest export product of the Western Cape economy and contributes 6,5% to the province's exports. Because of this, it is an essential source of job creation.
We must support and protect the wine industry in the Western Cape.