Taverners promise to adhere to regulations as alcohol sales resume

Mandla Khoza Freelance journalist
People stock up on booze at the Pick n Pay On Nicol bottle store in Johannesburg as the country entered level 3 of the lockdown.
People stock up on booze at the Pick n Pay On Nicol bottle store in Johannesburg as the country entered level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo

People in various parts of Mpumalanga absconded from work to queue at bottle stores to stock up on alcohol after the ban was lifted yesterday. 

Sizwe Maseko of Mbombela, the provincial capital, said he was going to buy plenty of booze to store.

“I have decided to have my own bar. I’m not stocking to sell, but I don’t trust this government, they might change and tell us that they are banning the sale of alcohol with immediate effect. I learnt [my lesson the last time], so now I’m here to buy my own supply for the future. Yes, I absconded from work,” Maseko said.

Tavern owners and liquor outlets have expressed their joy at the return of sales and the rush by customers. They say the huge turnout will help pay their debts.

Pinky Shongwe, who owns KaMkhulunyelwa Tavern in Schoemansdal, outside Malalane, said: “I’m very happy about this opening. This shows that after all the suffering now we will be able to pay debts. We'll be able to pay our employees. Remember, these are our brothers and sisters who have not earned any income for months now. Joy is written on their faces as they also return to work.”

'It's been a roller-coaster ride': bottle stores get back to business

Subscribe for free: iono.fm | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Player.fm

Sanele Sibiya, a manager of Coyotes, a popular shisanyama spot in Mbombela, told Sowetan that though the 10pm curfew was early for them, half a loaf is better than no bread.

In Gauteng, a Johannesburg man spent more than R20,000 on his favourite whisky and rum on the first day of the resumption of alcohol sales. “I feel great today now that the ban has been lifted,” Gordan Human said at Makro in Strubens Valley, Roodepoort, on a cloudy morning yesterday. Human’s trolley was packed with bottles of Bell’s whisky and Red Heart rum, his favourite brands.

Human and three friends each contributed more than R6,000 to buy the alcohol. Their plan is not to come up short if the ban on sales is reinstated.

“We buy stock together and then we share the bottles equally. We have always done it like this, so when the second peak in Covid-19 infections comes around we have stock.”

Meanwhile, staff at a Pretoria shisanyama were busy preparing to balance hygiene protocols and a night-time curfew yesterday as they prepared to return to trade.

“Today, we are just busy cleaning. We are preparing to open — we might open on Thursday [tomorrow],” said manager Eric Sibande.

Pheli Shisanyama in Atteridgeville, an entertainment venue with music, drinks and food, will be offering a new platter-style menu to meet the strict new rules of operating. Its customers will have to book at least a day in advance so that the establishment can limit attendance to less than 50 at a time.

Sibande said they have to adjust their closing time too. “We will open at 9am and close at 9.30pm, because the curfew starts at 10pm. We used to operate from 9am to 2am,” he said.— Additional reporting by TimesLIVE

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.