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MANZINI – Liquor outlets will know their fate through the High Court. Following the failure by the two parties, government and the Swaziland National Liquor Association (SNLA) to reach common ground regarding the banning of the sale of alcohol, the matter will now be decided by the High Court.

This follows that members of SNLA instructed their lawyer, Jose Rodrigues of Rodrigues & Associates, to move an urgent application seeking an order to compel government to lift the alcohol ban.
When reached for comment, the attorney representing SNLA confirmed receiving instructions from the client on an urgent basis to challenge government on the ban of alcohol sales in the country.


The instruction from SNLA follows government being adamant that it was not reversing its decision on the alcohol sales ban. This was communicated through a letter written by the Attorney General (AG), Sifiso Khumalo.

The ban is anticipated to start today as announced by the Prime Minister, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, last week Tuesday. The premier announced that government had decided to stop the wholesale and distribution of liquor with effect from today, seeing that the consumption of alcohol was among the leading causes of the spread of the coronavirus.

On the other hand, the SNLA is keen to engage government.
Secretary General of SNLA Thamsanqa Hlatshwayo said he had been mandated by members of the association to schedule a meeting with government, following that in a letter written by the AG, the State said it was open to engagements.
Hlatshwayo said they were seeking audience with government to establish what it was bringing to the table.

He said based on the contents of the correspondence from government, stating that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade remained available for engagements with their members, they were also open to establish a way forward.
However, Hlatshwayo was quick to say this did not mean that they were deviating from filing court papers.


The secretary general said the engagements would revolve around what would happen to their orders from Eswatini Beverages as they were, by yesterday, still receiving their orders.
“We had ordered alcohol from the supplier and some of us are yet to get the stock while others received theirs today (yesterday).”

Hlatshwayo wondered what would happen to the stock delivered yesterday as they were expected not to operate from this day forward.
Worth noting is that yesterday, around the hub, trucks from Eswatini Beverages were seen delivering alcohol to some liquor outlets.
Also noted within the city’s liquor outlets, was that there were no long queues of customers seeking to buy in bulk as it was the last day.

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