Flash Briefing: Lockdown-free Christmas on the cards; booze heists in anticipation of alcohol ban; hospitality sector’s grim reality
Briefing | Flash

Flash Briefing: Lockdown-free Christmas on the cards; booze heists in anticipation of alcohol ban; hospitality sector’s grim reality

  • Health minister Joe Phaahla says that South Africans could enjoy a lockdown-free Christmas – but only if they “stay put” and observe all Covid-19 protocols. Phaahla says that the data is “promising”, but the number of hospitalisations is only one factor that is considered when advising on lockdown restrictions, with a lot of input coming from health authorities and stakeholders. These inputs would be discussed “in a matter of days” when a clearer picture of South Africa’s festive Covid situation would be available. However, he said, right now, indications are that there may be room to work around further lockdown restrictions.
  • Liquor traders and alcohol companies say they have increasingly become a big target for criminals. Alcohol bans and other restrictions on the alcohol trade in South Africa has led to a surge in depots and traders having their stock stolen by organised criminals, feeding a R20bn illicit industry. In the last two months, the liquor industry has reported two major warehouses hit by syndicates in anticipation of possible alcohol restrictions in December. The industry has approached the courts to try and stop the government from imposing further bans.
  • The SIU is investigating a company that was given an open-ended contract to renovate a clinic to prepare it for Covid patients. The appointment was made without any scope for the project or any purchase order. The company involved is also currently being investigated as part of the SIU’s PPE fraud process. Several inconsistencies around final prices paid and work done were found between the company and the respective health department. Meanwhile, a top police official investigating PPE fraud and corruption at the SAPS was found to have been poisoned. At the time of his death in July, his cause of death was reported as Covid-19.
  • The National Accommodation Association of South Africa said about 90% of small lodges and guest houses might soon have to shut their doors due to the number of booking cancellations. This follows the travel bans imposed by a number of countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom after the Omicron variant was detected and reported in South Africa.

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