Maile’s office refutes township snub claim



The party made these claims after Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, stated in a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature that his department will fully comply with the new draft regulations on National Liquor Policy, which the DA said will deal a hard blow to township liquor business owners.

The new policy will ban licensed on-consumption taverns from operating within 500-metres of public institutions, transport hubs and places of worship, among other requirements.

DA Gauteng spokesperson on finance, Ashor Sarupen said, “While this is welcome in the context of reducing alcohol abuse, it does not take into account the circumstances under which township businesses operate.

“Most townships in Gauteng have not been properly zoned and there is no proper distinction in zoning business and trading zones from residential zones in townships.”

He added that this National Liquor Policy has the potential to destroy thousands of township entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses in Gauteng. Sarupen said he noted that Maile had indicated that he meets quarterly with the industry, and that regulations will be made considering the unique challenges they face through meetings and talk shops, however, he said this would not alleviate the consequences of this ‘unfair policy’.

The department spokesperson, Phindile Kunene, said the National Liquor Policy is still in draft form, and that public participation workshops were currently underway to elicit the views of the liquor traders on this policy. The next one will take place in Soweto at the Orlando Community Hall on 21 September from 10am.

Kunene said, “Communities, liquor traders and other relevant stakeholders will be able to utilise the public participation platform to get their views heard. It goes without saying that the history and the design of our townships have not caught up with the current structural and legislative developments.

“As the question clearly puts it, in Gauteng (unlike semi-rural and rural areas such as North West and KwaZulu-Natal) a 500-metre radius is almost impossible to enforce.”

Kunene also admitted that should the draft be adopted, it would be almost impossible to have any type of liquor trade in the townships. However, he said the public participation workshops were underway to discuss and hear from the traders what would be an amicable solution, keeping in mind the rationale behind the implementation of the policy, which aims at having consistency in liquor trade conditions.

He said each province warrants to be treated in accordance with the dynamics that prevail within it.

Kunene said, “The whole idea is to eradicate harm and not to destroy small businesses that our country depends on for job creation and sustainable employment. Any small business in our country is expected to positively contribute to the wellness of our communities without creating a negative impact in any way.”

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Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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