'You should have warned us': Liquor Traders Council to presidency

The National Liquor Traders Council is seeking relief from the government after the reintroduction of the alcohol ban. File photo.
The National Liquor Traders Council is seeking relief from the government after the reintroduction of the alcohol ban. File photo.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo

The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) has written to the presidency requesting financial relief for their members after the sudden reintroduction of the alcohol ban.

The organisation said it was shocked by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday night.

Lucky Ntimane Winston Hector, NLTC national convener chairperson, said that during the first alcohol ban they were consulted by the government.  

“It was our expectation that as a president who thrives on consultation we would at least have been consulted on such an important matter as this, which is literally our livelihood and means of survival, source of pride and a vehicle which enables us to send our kids to school and put food on the table for our families and our workers.

“We would like to bring it to your attention, Mr President, that township liquor traders, often referred to as taverns, are the only true and proudly South African, 100% black-owned businesses that we have alongside the taxi industry, hair salons and street vendors,” Ntimane said.  

He said the ban on liquor sales will have dire consequences on the tavern industry as a whole and leave families dependent on the industry in severe poverty that they are unlikely to recover from.

“Upon the resumption of liquor trading on June 1 2020, we already had 15% of township liquor outlets who could not open their doors because they had not recovered from the closure during the first stage of lockdown” at end March.

They propose that the government implement:

  • Special UIF Covid-19 TERS dispensation for qualifying liquor trade employees for a period equivalent to the length of the ban on the sale of liquor;
  • A reimbursement of 75% of liquor licence fees (capped at minimum of R2,500) to tavern owners as a once-off payment before the end of August 2020;
  • A moratorium on licence fees payable for the next two years, with the next renewal fee only payable in 2023;
  • Once-off tavern support of R20,000 to cover lost income for the first two months of non-trading and also the current ban on liquor sales. This support represents only 12.5% of revenue that an average tavern would make in four months, the council said.

Lastly, they are asking for immediate consultation to establish agreed terms and conditions for the swift unbanning of alcohol sales.

The tavern industry accounts for 43% of all alcohol sold in SA, according to the council. The organisation said it expects a response from the president by Friday next week.

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