Large liquor outlets in townships creating headache for local traders
Liquor retailers setting up shop in townships are upsetting local township alcohol traders, who fear the competition might kill their businesses.
The Western Cape Liquor Traders Organisation (WCLTO), which represents township alcohol traders, took a decision recently to cut their support of local white-owned liquor traders.
This decision was taken at an imbizo in Gugulethu on Sunday, where the body was briefing its members on the festive readiness programme on responsible trading, customer safety and underage drinking.
WCLTO secretary Lefa Mapilo said the government was delaying regulating their business, which made them targets of police.
“We have taken this decision because when talking about the amount of alcohol in our townships the blame is squarely put on us.
"Our traders feel that their problems started when these white monopoly businesses entered our townships, where our businesses were surrendered for them to come and trade in our vicinities,” he said.
In an attempt to encourage the township economy, Mapilo said the traders were prepared to trade among themselves, "because are not benefiting anything from these big liquor traders who entered our townships masquerading as supermarkets.”
With more alcohol consumed during the festive season, Mapilo said they were on the lookout for young people in their taverns, adding that the safety of their customers was also one of their top priorities.
He said it was the responsibility of traders to ensure they did not sell alcohol to minors and pregnant women.
“As an organisation we encourage responsible drinking and trading. We do not condone underage drinking and selling of alcohol to underage children.
"However, what we need to understand is that underage drinking should not only be blamed on our taverns, these kids have access to bigger retailers,” he said, adding that police should ensure that traders who violated trading conditions were closed down.
Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA), communication, education and stakeholder relations assistant director Nwabisa Mpalala said that in order to sell liquor legally traders needed to have a liquor licence, and that was not negotiable.
He added that the WCLA with the police would roll out enforcement operations across the province.