Tavern owners link up with Nafcoc to fight for relief

Concerned Township Licensed Liquor Traders chair Lunga Magxaka
LEAN TIMES: Concerned Township Licensed Liquor Traders chair Lunga Magxaka
Image: WERNER HILLS

“We pay liquor licences every year, we pay taxes as well as municipal rates but when it comes to the government relief fund, we are sidelined.”

Concerned Township Licensed Liquor Traders chair in Nelson Mandela Bay, Lunga Maqxaka, said tavern owners in the metro had had enough of not being considered for relief funds by the South African government.

Speaking earlier this week, Magxaka said tavern owners across the metro, Uitenhage, Despatch and Port Elizabeth, decided to organise themselves and have joined the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) in an effort to be recognised with the possibility of accessing relief funds.

“When the country was fighting against the apartheid government, tavern owners used to hide comrades and some would even sacrifice their own rooms for those in hiding.

“Tavern owners would even donate money to fund programmes of the struggle movement but today, those same comrades who have ascended to positions of power in government are suppressing those very same tavern owners.

“Instead, they are willing to fund cafes and spaza shops, the majority of which are not owned by South African citizens,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed the second ban on alcohol four weeks ago which led to establishments such as taverns unable to operate.

Magxaki said the concerned liquor traders had approached the taxi industry for bilateral talks because the two industries were being left out.

“The taxi industry and taverns are the only authentic black businesses left in the country,” Magxaka said.

“As licensed liquor traders, we pay R2,500 for our licences every year, we pay taxes and municipal rates but its almost as if government is ashamed of us.”

Nafcoc regional secretary-general Qiqa Mpetsheni said the concerned liquor traders had become members and affiliates of Nafcoc with membership fully paid up.

Mpetsheni said the group felt they were not being heard with their previous affiliation which included bed and breakfasts and other accommodation.

“They joined Nafcoc because they want to be heard,” Mpetsheni said.

Mpetsheni said Nafcoc has a platform and was a brand able to raise the concerns of their members and raise such issues on relevant platforms.

“As an industry, government has had no programmes that speak to taverns and possibly develop them into places of entertainment, rather than a place that just sells alcohol.

“They need government intervention and funds because most tavern owners own properties, meaning they contribute by paying rates, taxes and their liquor licences.

“For us as Nafcoc it boggles the mind that there’s been no intervention because the lockdown and the ban in the sale of alcohol has hit them hard,” Mpetsheni said.

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