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Cape’s liquor traders weigh booze laws
Cape’s liquor traders weigh booze laws

Cape’s liquor traders weigh booze laws


IOL Business - Nov 16th 2016, 10:11

Cape Town - About 50 liquor traders from Khayelitsha, Langa, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Strand convened in Khayelitsha to discuss liquor laws that may see many shebeens, taverns and once-off consumption traders either lose their businesses or their liquor licences. 

The meeting, hosted by Vuma Liquor Traders’ Association (Vulta), saw many liquor business owners standing together in the fight to save their livelihoods.

Vulta, an organisation which seeks to fight for the rights of liquor traders around the Western Cape, warned its members about the new laws which might be detrimental to their businesses.

One owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We need each other to stand up against these laws that will hinder our businesses and take food from right under our noses.”

Earlier this month, Vulta handed a memorandum to the Department of Trade and Industry to stop these laws from being proposed. With the drinking age set to be moved from 18 to 21, Vulta said not only was this law unrealistic but it would cause many under-age drinkers to turn to other substances, such as drugs.

“Vulta is of the strong view that the proposed age restriction be scrapped and 18 years is a reasonable minimum age for consumption of liquor products,” read the memorandum.

There have also been many proposals made regarding zoning requirements and stricter regulation of trading hours.

“Anyone who understands township culture knows the township comes alive mostly after working/business hours and continues until late. Restricting trading hours does not make sense."

“It will not stop people from drinking as they will stock up in their homes and cars. Stricter regulation of trading hours will not result in less drinking.”

Vulta proposed a basic neighbourhood regulation be applied, meaning traders in discussion with immediate and affected neighbours should be given the right to discuss how late the business could operate.

Another liquor trader, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said people needed to respect liquor traders and treat their businesses as professional businesses.

“Selling alcohol is not a crime; we just need to respect one another’s careers.”

Liquor traders hope to mobilise other areas and get the support of customers in their quest to scrap these laws.

One trader urged people to apply for their licences just to be on the safe side of the law.

“It took me four years to receive my zoning licence and to extend my times after being rejected on three occasions,” he said.

All the traders felt the laws were disempowering small businesses and targeting the township sector.

“We plead with those who wield power to listen to us and hear our cries. We feel that those behind this policy live privileged lives and are far removed from our realities in the townships.”

The Department of Trade and Industry published the Liquor Amendment Bill for public comment in October.Independent on-line 2013. All rights reserved 

Read more about: liquor bill | liquor

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