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Lesufi’s future taverns hope to change look of drinking holes in townships

“This is good for Heineken, not for us’

Jeanette Chabalala Senior Reporter
Prenier Panyaza Lesufi at the Heineken Brewery in Sedibeng where he was briefed before the launch of the taverns of the future.
Prenier Panyaza Lesufi at the Heineken Brewery in Sedibeng where he was briefed before the launch of the taverns of the future.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi’s future taverns which have received backlash on social media, are government’s hope to change the look and feel of drinking holes in townships. 

The project led by Dutch beer maker Heineken in partnership with Gauteng government.

The Gauteng department of economic development confirmed to Sowetan the project is a public-private initiative that began early in the year and was aimed at transforming the tavern sector. 

An official from the department who is close to the project and did not want to be named,  said the project is still at the conception stage with a pilot already set up in Alexandra. The future tavern will have enhanced infrastructure to improve security for customers while preventing underage drinking. The owners will be upskilled to offer other services such as spaces for their customers to hold meetings while enjoying coffee. 

“Heineken came on board and said it wanted to look at the retailers in the townships that sell alcohol and turn them into something that is more than just taverns where people dont only buy alcohol.

Lesufi received backlash on social media on Tuesday after he shared a picture of himself and the brewers representative on X (formerly known as Twitter) with a caption that read: “Today, we received a full briefing to launch taverns of the future in our communities. The tavern of the future will blow your mind. Thanks to the new Heineken Vision. Exciting times indeed.”

Many social users were critical of him for promoting alcohol usage in township while others reminded him of his previous post where he said he wanted an alcohol-free SA.

But Lesufi responded by saying: “Investment is above our individual preferences. We must bring investments in our province to create jobs and opportunities for all.”

Yesterday, department of international relations and cooperation head of public diplomacy Clayson Monyela joined the conversation saying: “My dad was murdered at a tavern in Kagiso. He was 33. Taverns traumatise me. My heart breaks when I see companies like Heineken getting endorsements from my government to expand further into our communities. The few jobs theyre promising is not worth the thousands of lives these people are going to destroy. This is good for Heineken, not for us. Im so pissed!

Lucky Ntimane, the convener of the National Liquor Traders Council said the initiative was welcome. 

“Any initiative aimed at  projecting a positive image of taverns as a cornerstone of township economy and create a harmonious environment where all sections of society can visit such establishments to enjoy themselves with varieties of options should be welcomed, he told Sowetan.

“We applaud the step taken by Heineken to put to practise their commitment to improve taverns look and feel, and invest in the tavern infrastructure which could only be beneficial to our traders and consumers alike. We says cheers to the taverns of the future.

Heineken had not responded for comment by the time of going to print last night


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