Gauteng Economic Development MEC won’t shield township businesses from unfair liquor policy

By Ashor Sarupen MPL DA Gauteng Spokesperson: Finance:

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, stated in a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature that his department will fully comply with the new draft regulations on national liquor policy – which will deal a hard blow to township liquor business owners.

The new national liquor policy will ban licensed on-consumption taverns from operating within 500 metres of public institutions, transport hubs and places of worship, amongst other requirements.

While this is welcome in the context of reducing alcohol abuse, it does not take into account the circumstances under which township businesses operate.

Most townships in Gauteng have not been properly zoned and there is no proper distinction in zoning business and trading zones from residential zones in townships.

This policy has the potential to destroy thousands of township entrepreneurs and black owned businesses in Gauteng.

While indicating that he meets quarterly with the industry, and that regulations will be made considering the unique challenges they face – meetings and talk shops, however, will not alleviate the consequences of this unfair policy.

The DA in Gauteng would ensure that zoning and designated trading areas are properly defined in townships, as they are in suburbs. We would also undertake a process to assist, formalise and designate trading zones as well as ensure that such regulations are phased in over time to allow for compliance, so that these businesses are given a fair chance to compete in the economy.

The DA stands with small businesses and start-ups as key drivers of economic growth and job creation, and will continue to hold government accountable for its job-killing policies – and propose alternatives that will allow all businesses a fair shot at competing in the economy.