Promoters optimistic over alcohol Levy revocation

  • The reduced levy tariffs will help the BW Entertainment Industry revival-DJ Sid
  • The entertainment industry will be affected because bars will be hosting illegal unregulated festivals- Modibe


The announcement of the alcohol levy revocation last week by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry through the Government Gazette caused excitement and came as welcome news for alcohol consumers who have struggled under the heavy taxation. The new law states in part that under the statutory instrument of the control of goods Amendment Regulations the alcohol levy will be calculated at 35% from 55% for both domestic production and imports. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is renowned for being a sociable scene where opportunities for social drinking may crop up more frequently than in any other spaces. TimeOut reached out to industry players to hear their predictions for entertainment with the looming reductions.
For Sidney DJ Sid Baitsile, the relationship between alcohol and entertainment is symbiotic and very difficult to separate. Ideally, he says he would have loved the two to be independent of one another where people could go to clubs and festivals without necessarily going to drink alcohol but for the entertainment element only. He says today in most cases an alcohol free event will not happen but back in the day people used to go to clubs primarily for entertainment (music) and to bars for drinks. But since the alcohol levy was introduced and skyrocketed every year, the entertainment element in nightclubs quickly died because the alcohol prices in clubs increased exponetially. There was then a swift move to bars where they introduced music and Djs. People followed because they had free entrance and cheaper alcohol.
“The reduction of the levy and relaxation of the operating hours for clubs to the wee hours of the night will tremendously help the entertainment industry in that it will spark the revival of nightclubs and festivals. That is if retailers (Bars and clubs to be specific) cut prices. Drinks will be cheaper at clubs and affordable and people will start frequenting clubs again. I just wish music would be outlawed from bars. That would really help the entertainment industry!” he opined.
For his part, promoter Seabelo Modibe says the revocation of the alcohol levy will not grow the industry as it is not in the business of selling alcohol. He argues that the amount of money spent into the music industry by alcohol manufactures is too small and insignificant. He pointed out that the industry has been greatly affected by the Liquor Regulations.
“There is a big confusion between the entertainment industry and the alcohol industry. People don’t attend festivals because of cheap alcohol but rather good music. What we need is for government to take some of the money from the Alcohol Levy to fix the damage that spilled over to the entertainment industry,” he said.
Modibe went on to add that people were not coming to festivals because they were closing at 12 midnight and certainly not because alcohol was expensive. “There are more people who don’t drink alcohol than those who do drink. I see the entertainment industry being affected by these moves because bars will turn into shebeens and people won’t come to festivals because bars will be hosting illegal unregulated festivals. My worry is the posture of government to try and appease the Alcohol industry and using the entertainment industry as bait or a sweetener to these ongoing reforms,” he concluded.