Home South African 50 000 tavern owners seek R20 000 relief from government

50 000 tavern owners seek R20 000 relief from government

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The traders are also asking for a once-off support of R20 000 to cover lost income for the first two months of non-trading.

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria – Almost 50 000 black-owned tavern and shebeen owners are demanding a once-off payment of R20 000
compensation for loss of income due to the two separate bans on the sale of alcohol.

While the demand appears to be almost similar to that of the failed demand by taxi owners, the businessmen argue their businesses were contributing 6% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

This is contained in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa following his decision, on Sunday, to ban the sale of alcohol for a second time.

In their bid to reverse the ban, the taverners and the SA Alcohol Industry have lodged separate bids to Ramaphosa and the Medical Research Council to reconsider their views on the ban on the sale of liquor.

The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) which represents 35 000 taverners and 10 000 shebeen owners in black townships wrote a second strongly worded letter, in less than five days, depicting a dire consequence of Ramaphosa’s decision.

In the latest letter written yesterday, NLTC chairperson Lucky Ntimane said Ramaphosa’s decision had not only affected their businesses, but their families.

“During the first alcohol ban, we were consulted by the government. There was significant collaboration, and we agreed on a safe and sensible approach to the sale of alcohol during the pandemic.

“Our members have gone to great lengths to ensure that all Covid-19 safety protocols have been adhered to, and honoured our side of the agreement reached with the government as a condition to start trading on June 1, 2020,” Ntimane said.

He said their members operated mainly in the townships and the
ban on alcohol sales has brought the government’s Township Economic Development Strategy to a halt.

Ntimane further wrote: “The ban on liquor sales will have dire consequences on the tavern industry as a whole and leave families dependent on it in severe poverty that they are unlikely to recover from.”

The traders are asking Ramaphosa to implement a Special Unemployment Insurance Fund Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) dispensation for qualifying liquor trade employees for a period equivalent to the length of the ban in the sale of liquor.

The traders are also asking for a once-off support of R20 000 to cover lost income for the first two months of non-trading.

Ntimane said their demand only represents 12.5% of revenue that an average tavern would make in a four-month period. They have given Ramaphosa until July 24 to respond.

Ramaphosa, in reply to their first letter, ordered them to raise their concerns with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Political Bureau