Tougher liquor laws will damage township businesses

Photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi

The proposed tougher liquor laws in the Minister of Trade and Industry’s National Liquor Policy Draft Bill will damage small businesses and informal traders in townships

The President of the South Africa Liquor Traders Association, Mish Hlophe, says none are feeling the pressure of a challenging economic climate more than the over 1 million small business owners that are trying to make an honest living in townships.

The new proposals in the bill include banning the sale of alcohol within 500 metres of a residential area, sport club, stadium or near to public transport, changing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21, and introducing a policy that will make tavern owners liable if a patron is hurt during or after he has visited the establishment.

Hlophe says the government is not helping township businesses by adding laws that are not feasible or workable in township environments. The department has meanwhile extended the deadline for submissions and public comments on the bill for a further two weeks to November 30.

“If it is going to be enforced as laid down in the bill, such as the 500 metre rule, there will not be a single tavern in any township in South Africa. Take for instance the rule about no alcohol near a public transport facility. Airports are public transport facilities and you will find pubs there. We actually think the bill as it stands now is discriminative.”

Andre Grobler/Courant News