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Taverns continue to trade behind locked gates

| Africa

While the sale and distribution of alcohol has been prohibited for the 21-day lockdown, some tavern owners continue to trade behind locked gates.

In Ga-Rankuwa, certain taverns in Extension 25 and Zone 1 are still operating while a staff member keeps a lookout for SAPS and SANDF members who may be patrolling the area.

President of the Concerned Tshwane Liquor Traders Association, Oupa Mthombeni, said they had warned their members about the dangers of continuing to sell alcohol during the lockdown.

However, he said the organisation could not control every trader all the time.

Mthombeni said although they were totally against the continued sale of alcohol, many owners were concerned about their livelihoods. He said while spaza shops had been catered for and allowed to work during this period, tavern owners - many of whom were reliant on their small business to feed their families - were not considered.

“We’re not encouraging any of our members to continue selling because it could result in a fine and a possible jail term for them, but many are worried about being unable to pay for liquor licences if they don’t make money as a result of the lockdown.

“I have children who are at college and my wife is unemployed; so everything is dependent on my business operating, which it isn’t at the moment.”

Mthombeni said they were urging the government to consider suspending the licence fees temporarily.

“If we were assured that for a few months we won’t have to pay the licences, some wouldn’t go about risking everything the way they are now.”

Pretoria News

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