Faced with the spectre of a devastating coronavirus scourge, South Africa’s president, Cyrill Ramaphosa, was one of the first world leaders to take a series of bold steps meant to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the virus. He introduced a stringent series of lockdown rules including one controversial one, he introduced an alcohol ban. The ban was later lifted after restrictions were relaxed but has since been reintroduced as coronavirus cases surged.

Critics have always questioned the wisdom of the ban. What does the consumption of alcohol have to do with the spread of the coronavirus no one knows except perhaps the wise South African leaders. Now the ban seems to be now having some real negative, probably unintended, effects on the South African economy. According to SA Breweries hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of barley will go to waste if the ban is not lifted. Resulting in lost revenue to farmers.