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  • The Restaurant Association of South Africa wants to take the government to court.
  • The Association says it wants to get money back for the annual liquor licences restaurants get.
  • The curfew will also mean restaurants can only be open for a short time, as all staff need to be home by 21:00.
  • For more information visit Business Insider South Africa.

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) may sue the government for damages suffered by lockdown regulations.

According to Wendy Alberts, the CEO of Rasa, the association is “seeking council today [Monday] with our attorney and advocates Mooney Ford to see what claim we have against government for damages on non-performance and restrictions of our liquor licences and the regulations regarding the substantiation on the curfew and how we can leverage this angle to put pressure on government”.

This follows on the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night that the sale of alcohol would be banned “with immediate effect”.

The association also particularly wants a rebate on liquor licences. Restaurants pay an annual fee for a liquor licence. As they have been unable to serve alcohol under large parts of lockdown, Rasa wants the government to refund part of this licensing cost.

According to Rasa’s lawyer, Ashton Naidoo, a partner at Mooney Ford Attorneys, “the reality is that restaurants are drowning. Their fixed costs have remained the same while their income has declined sharply”.

The industry was dealt another blow when Ramaphosa announced the reintroduction of a curfew between 21:00 - 04:00. According to Naidoo, restaurants do the majority of their business after 17:00. If restaurant staff need to be in their homes by 21:00, that means they need time to travel, and to clean and close the restaurant. “It effectively cuts restaurants to only two hours of trade, between 17:00 and 19:00.”

“The way things are going now, the government needs to start subsidising the restaurant industry," he says.

Naidoo says the association is also concerned at the lack of consultation before reimplementing the liquor ban, which he said blindsided restaurants completely.

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