Online orders of alcohol will not be delivered until the national alcohol ban is lifted, several ecommerce companies have confirmed to MyBroadband.
This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on 12 July that alcohol sales, production, and distribution have been banned in South Africa with immediate effect.
This is despite Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu saying in June that government was not considering this option.
Ramaphosa said that the alcohol ban has been reinstated because of the large number of alcohol-related cases that have inundated hospitals since the original ban was lifted.
While it lessened the strain on hospitals, the initial alcohol ban had an extremely negative effect on the economy.
In a joint statement, several alcohol industry organisations said the alcohol industry has lost a total of R18 billion in revenue and R3.4 billion in excise tax during the lockdown.
These organisations criticised the decision to reinstate the ban on alcohol sales, dispensation, and distribution.
According to these organisations, they have been in constant communication with the government over how to ensure alcohol regulations could be adhered to.
“Despite these engagements, the industry was given no warning about the ban, nor an opportunity to consult with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) before a decision was made and no consideration was given to the immediate logistical difficulties it poses for suppliers, distributors, and retailers alike,” said these organisations.
“The government’s decision has serious economic consequences, placing hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at risk.”
One logistical difficulty that the sudden alcohol ban has caused concerns online alcohol orders that have been paid for but cannot be delivered.
MyBroadband asked several online stores what would happen to active alcohol orders as a result of the new alcohol ban.
Makro confirmed that the ban on liquor sales had resulted in an immediate impact on online liquor orders made prior to, or on, 12 July.
It said that in compliance with the government’s new regulations, it has implemented the following resolutions:
- All liquor orders that have not been delivered or collected by the courier will be cancelled and all affected customers will be refunded.
- All orders already collected by the courier for delivery, but not yet delivered, will be held back until liquor sales are permitted.
Makro added that in the second situation, customers will also be offered the option to cancel their orders.
CyberCellar said that since the new law states that it is illegal to dispense or transport alcohol, it cannot dispatch from its warehouse.
“Couriers that have existing orders will likely hold onto them until the ban ends – as they did during the previous ban,” said CyberCellar.
The ecommerce seller said that its customers will receive their orders once the ban ends.
Alternatively, they can choose to cancel their orders.
CyberCellar said that the decision by Ramaphosa is extremely frustrating as there was no warning given to businesses, and the announcement has posed a major disruption to its business.
OneDayOnly told MyBroadband that all alcohol orders that were scheduled for delivery on Monday 13 July have been recalled, and the company is in the process of receiving these orders from its couriers.
“We will then safeguard these orders until such time as we are able to dispatch,” said OneDayOnly.
It added that all stock it was waiting to receive from its suppliers has been put on hold, meaning its suppliers will not deliver any alcohol until the regulations allow it.
“All affected customers will be kept updated, and we will continue to provide clear communication as more information comes up,” said OneDayOnly.