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KBL appeals alcohol ban court case

TEMPORALY CLOSED: KBL

• Ropes in two employees to testify of negative ban effects

Kgalagadi Breweries Proprietary Limited (KBL) has filed an urgent application seeking the court to grant them an expedited appeal after they suffered a blow in their initial quest to overturn the Government’s decision to ban the distribution and sale of alcohol.

In the judgment that left many in the alcohol industry sober minded, the three men bench of the high court on August 3rd ruled that KBL’s case was not urgent and that it has to follow the normal court process.

“The applicant (KBL) alleged harm or loss is defined in financial, monetary or economic terms. I am not persuaded that a litigant with a possible claim sounding in money entitles him/her to preferential treatment or that the rules of court should be abridged. I take the view that the applicant’s characterization of its case as constitutional and not commercial is not a candid reflection of what it has deposed to,” the high court judges stated in their ruling.

This week however KBL added more weight to their case by citing employees as part of the applicants and filed for an expedited appeal at the Court of Appeal (CoA).

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KBL wants the CoA to, “Direct a departure of the rules of the court of appeal pertaining to the time prescribed for the doing of anything to which these rules apply and that this application to be treated as urgent.”

They also seek the appeals court to “Direct that the appeal of the applicants of the order of the court quo, as handed down on 3 August 2021 under case be heard in terms of rule 1 ( 2) of the court of appeal rules as an expedited appeal and as a matter of urgency .”

Adding more voice to their case KBL has added one Koga Boitswarelo who is a cashier at their Gaborone depot to demonstrate how the alcohol ban has impacted her life.

According to Boitswarelo because KBL is unable to trade as a result of the alcohol ban-she she too has been prejudiced.

In her submission to the court, she states that together with her three children they rely solely on the salary she gets from KBL as she is the only breadwinner.

“I was severely prejudiced as a result of the previous prohibition as it had a direct and substantial impact on my livelihood and the livelihoods of my dependants. It is therefore not dramatic or an exaggeration to say that there is a strong possibility that if the prohibition is not uplifted within the coming days there will be once again, a direct implication on the monthly remuneration that I rely on for my survival. In this regard I expect that I may be placed on unpaid leave (as has happened with other employees in the past),” the cashier is expected to tell the court.

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Another person brought in by KBL as to paint the gloomy picture of the adverse effects of the alcohol ban is from one Letlhogile Mafoko who is employed by KBL as a process operator.

Mafoko tells the court that after the first alcohol ban he was placed on a 10 % salary deduction since June last year.
He further says after the latest ban he was placed on unpaid leave and received zero income.

“I am consequently compelled to protect my interest as well as those of my dependants by launching this application. I respectfully admit that the honorable court ought to be made aware of my plight (which I have no doubt is shared by many hundreds if not thousands of people who work in the alcohol industry) and the prejudice that I stand to suffer should the current ban not be uplifted as a matter of urgency,” Mafoko says
KBL has dragged President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Director of Health Services and the Attorney General (AG) to court over the latest alcohol ban which is now on its third month.

President Masisi has since deposed a sworn affidavit demonstrating and backing up his decision to ban alcohol sales and distribution. He has vehemently argued that that alcohol has a direct impact on rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. KBL believes otherwise and has challenged Government to produce evidence.

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