BLACK owned businesses have accused the Government of plotting to plunge black people into more poverty and unemployment in the townships, after issuing the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill for public comment.
The Bill seeks to make several changes to how liquor is sold and consumed. Liquor traders say not only will their families suffer, but the communities they serve as well and have come together to express their frustration.
Phumzile Ratladi from Meadowlands Zone 6, in Soweto, runs a liquor business called Sister Sisters. She has been taking care of her two sisters and brother, who are unemployed. They each have children who also rely on her for a living. There are about 11 people who look to her for basic needs. She says if government goes ahead and implements the regulations, all of them will struggle to make a living.
“The business supports all of them, that’s how I survive myself… take children to schools and help them to take their own children to school. I officially employ six people that depend on the business for survival. It would honestly be terrible if the business was to close down.”
Monde Dladla from Pimville Zone 4 in Soweto runs Monde’s Place with his wife. They are both over 60 and have had the business for 20 years. Their two children, who are grown up and married, were brought up on tavern money.
Dladla says they’ve run the business legally all this time and would like to continue that way. “We want to comply, but government doesn’t even give us a chance; we do have our code of conduct that we are working with… like selling liquor to children and pregnant women, we don’t do all those things – so we are trying all our best that we must comply with the laws.”
Another business owner, Fanny Mokoena, has accused government of turning against black business in the township.
She becomes emotional when she talks about how government prioritises white and big business. “People down the road next to me, they’ve come and build a shopping mall, because that shopping mall it’s not a black person that’s operating it; down the road from me there’s a petrol station that’s been built, which means if they build they’ve got a lease; I’ve been running that for 22 years – I don’t have a lease, I don’t have a title deed, I’m running it on month to month… so you tell me about 22 years democracy, where is it?”
Meanwhile, the deadline for public comments on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill has been extended until the end of the month.
The initial deadline was Monday next week.
The Democratic Alliance says while it welcomes the extension, however it’s still not sufficient time for members of the public to comment. – SABC