The South African government has announced that if the country softens its steps, the wine export ban imposed during the blockade will be lifted by the end of this week.
Under the new blackout rules, South Africa will allow all agricultural exports, including wine, to be continued on Friday May 1, the Minister of Cooperation and Administration of South African Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said at the briefing last night.
Prohibition of local sales and distribution of alcoholic beverages can be continued.
This announcement follows a turbulent month for the South African wine industry, where wine was initially included in fresh products that were approved for export. However, this was said more than a week after the government banned exports of wine and liquor during the ban.
Siobhan Thompson, CEO of Wines of South Africa (WoSA), said: “We thank President Ramaphosa and related government agencies for their confirmation and guarantee, and we strive to be responsible for our security and communication actions to our people.
“As an industry, we remain committed to implementing security protocols that effectively address the risks of data transmission throughout our value chain. The security of our employees, customers and consumers is the most important for our industry.”
Initially, the South African government made an exception to wine exports on April 7, after intensive lobbying by the exporting industry team, but then conducted a dramatic rollover on April 16, stopping all wine exports.
WoSA estimates that a five-week ban during the blackout period can conservatively cause an immediate loss of export earnings of more than R1 billion (FOB value).
He also said that damage to reputation and supply, as well as future market opportunities, could actually be “astronomical in the long run” because the list for many South African wines was lost amid retail.