Township taverners blast new liquor regulations

A new liquor law has not gone down well with township traders, who have accused the government of victimising them over establishments in suburbs.

President of the SA Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality Association (Saltha), Churchill Mrasi, yesterday said it was clear that the new regulations were meant to drive township liquor traders out of business. "We have made submissions to liquor authorities and we even went to Cape Town to make oral presentation as Saltha and the SA Liquor Traders Association to send a message that we reject the laws," he said.

Mrasi spoke to Sowetan after the new legislation stated that liquor premises should be located at least 500metres away from schools, places of worship, recreation facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas and public institutions.

Noncompliance in existing liquor premises may result in hefty penalties, suspension and/or revocation of the licence.

The document said alcohol abuse was on the increase, leading to increasing levels of conflict in the family, violence, crime, alcohol-related diseases and high-risk sexual behaviour as well as road accidents.

Mrasi said: "We made it very clear to government that there is no way that the 500-metre radius can apply because that would be moving township business out of townships."

Saltha executive Mxolisi Duma said: "These businesses have employed people and we are trading responsibly and in harmony with other organisations."