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SAB suspends commitments on jobs, investment

Following ban on alcohol sales.
Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

The South African Breweries (SAB) has suspended commitments to retain workers and investments, agreed as part of its merger with Anheuser-Busch InBev, due to the country’s decision to ban alcohol sales to curb the coronavirus, it revealed in court papers.

South Africa banned alcohol sales late last month as part of tighter restrictions to rein in the spread of Covid-19.

SAB has told the South African government that “its obligations have been suspended with effect from the date of the impugned regulations,” the company said in court papers filed on Wednesday and seen by Reuters on Friday.

The conditions of the $106 billion merger require SAB to maintain an aggregate headcount of 5,967 workers in South Africa and that AB InBev make a R1 billion investment in the country in five equal instalments of 200 million rand over a period of five years from the merger agreement.

The maker of Carling Black Label, now a unit of AB InBev, is challenging the government’s decision to re-impose a third alcohol ban as unlawful.

In a process that started in May, SAB submitted a proposal to the Competition Commission to amend its merger conditions by way of an application to the Competition Tribunal, which makes the final ruling on mergers, Richard Rivett-Carnac, a director of SAB said in the affidavit.

“This risk (of non-compliance with merger conditions) has arisen as a consequence of the impugned provisions, which have completely banned the sale of alcohol products,” Rivett-Carnac said.

The commission was not immediately available for comment.

The South African alcohol industry has been among the hardest hit by restrictions and three bans on alcohol sales, meant to free up space in hospitals burdened by avoidable alcohol-related injuries.

SAB, which has annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres, said more than 165,000 people in South Africa had lost their jobs and by Aug. 3 last year it had lost 12 weeks of trade.

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The ANC is the major source of unemployment in this country :Oh no wait it is all apartheid’s fault !!!

Anybody who believes the ANC is there to help the masses is disillusioned

If that were so, they would have built a prison long ago to house the Politically corrupt

The elite are enjoying the high life at our expense and to hell with the country and prosperity!

Only a change of Government by a decent crown with emotion and a sense of decency will bring about a better SA

The ANC’s top structure and ANC run Municipalities have traded the rainbow nation for their own benefit

Not cutting the wage bill, the Elephant in the room, is concrete evidence of this

They should be charged for violating the human rights charter and abuse

The masses have been let down and deprived of a better future

Simply put – they should all be charged for Treason for not respecting a) the Constitution and b) the citizens of RSA Inc.

They are simply self serving anarchists and looters – they entire lot.

If alcohol causes so big strain on hospitals and funeral parlors it should be banned permanently.
How is it explainable that the ‘joy’ of one person causes the dead of another one?
I know some happy alcohol dependant will say: the same for cars, but cars are a unfortunate necessity of today’s live we can not do without.

The same for slap tjips and hikes on table mountain. If the government ban everything which might kill us then we will anyway die of depression.

If you fall off table mountain, you only hurt/kill your self, same with slap tjips and sneaking into a Lion camp.
I suppose I can assume you did not lose a family member because of a drunk driver yet, and also that you like your dop.

You are on the right path, Ben. Keep on going down that road, don’t stop here. Follow that same reasoning to the apex. What you suggest is coercive government intervention in the lives of free individuals. Then, according to your theory, the ultimate solution to the covid deaths, the shortage of beds and the alcohol abuse in townships will be solved if the government implemented mandatory castration or hysterectomies in the townships. Mandatory estrogen therapy, enforced by the army, will be less intrusive and more humane.

By the way, all government intervention grows to develop a life of its own. It becomes an uncontrollable monster that feeds on itself. If they can ban alcohol on your behalf and for your benefit, they can exterminate you on behalf of the “people” and for the benefit of society.

Point is – make the rules for yourself and follow it. Leave other grownups alone to decide how they want to live. Stop being an irritating and prescriptive busybody.

I said nothing about cars though.

Succinct and to the point as usual. Could not have espoused it any better. I truly enjoy my cold beer in the evening as well as cooking with wine (and sometime the fruits in Tequila makes awesome sauces) and I do NOT abuse the alcohol or my family. If anything I am the opposite – and become placid (not flaccid!).
If people are not able to control any of their substance abuse then they should not indulge in what makes them monsters.
Because according to Ben – it is his way and thoughts or the highway.

If I decided to make my own thoughts as law for the benefit of Ben I am sure he will cringe (like maybe forcing everybody to make use of Superbikes forthwith which is my drug of choice!).

Sorry Ben but your argument does not cut the mustard.

Bert22….banned permanently

So you agree never to be on sale ever again?

Notice how moronic your comment is?

Heavens forbid, we hear you are banned from that kilojoule packed chocolate bar, because your appreciation of it could make you a rolly-polly

And what about the poor old down trodden smokers (and I don’t smoke but my brother does and he suffered first time around!).

Let’s ban DSTV, Lottery and maybe Church for that matter!!!

Govermnent destroying peoples income.theyre beyond sick

Agreed. What gives them the right to put hundreds of thousands of people out of work and trample on the rights of people who want to consume alcohol just because some cant behave?? Like a drunk now has all the rights?? Is this not just plain stupid??

This lot that used to fight for peoples rights are now doing the complete opposite and old CR and the “prime minister” is none the wiser.

Go for it SAB! Good to see a company at last pushing back against our useless excuse for a government. Need more to show some backbone and make our so called leaders realise they are dependent on business not the other way round.

And now government will do all it can to ensure you can’t get the vaccine.

Only govt can buy and distribute the vaccine !?

This will maximise opportunities for corruption, incompetence and dereliction of duty.

SAB has another line in this water : they with a partner bought Nampak’s bottling unit. The wine bottle game was decimated by the alcohol ban. There too is a competition commission problem : it requires SAB to continue offering wine bottles instead of only producing beer bottles (consol is the other wine bottle maker so if SAB stopped there would be a monopoly).

It is all crazy – there is already a vast inventory of last year’s bottled offerings, now who knows what will happen to 2021 harvest.

Prediction : carnage among wine grape growers and seasonal workers.

End of comments.

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