Stop being reckless, say shebeen and tavern owners

Members of the Gugulethu Liquor Traders Association are, from left, Andile Sokayi of Gqudu Tavern, Thamsanqa Kunkati of Ndoda’s liquor store, Lefa Mapilo of Lefa’s Tavern, Alina Sithole, David Saula of Popza’s Place and Nokwanda Msutwana of Nokwanda’s Place. They have called on the their members to act responsibly during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an unprecedented move, Gugulethu shebeen and tavern owners have called on their members to stop trading outside their permitted trading hours and to adhere to their license rules – and the Covid-19 protocols and curfew.

At a meeting held last Thursday, the Gugulethu Liquor Traders Association urged traders to stop selling liquor to children and already intoxicated people.

The association warned that if members did not adhere to the rules and regulations, they might not only be fined, but also contribute to spreading the virus.

It was important, the association said, that their businesses were no longer considered “super spreaders”.

Deputy president Lefa Mapilo said: “Covid-19 is real. The concern we have is that in the first phase, Klipfontein corridor which Gugulethu belongs to was also an epicentre.

“We should avoid that this time around. Taverns and liquor traders are known as super spreaders but we should work hard to change that. That is why we are calling on all our members to think about people’s lives and not money,” he said.

“It is time for us to be active citizens. We want to appeal to our fellow businessmen and women that this is not about us, but about the country and everybody. We need to be responsible traders and support the Minister of Health Zweli Mkize as he has declared that we are now in the second wave.”

He said all taverns and shebeens need to hire people who will sanitise the patrons’ hands and make sure that everyone is wearing a mask. While he understood it was the festive season, he said, traders should avoid mass gatherings at their premises – and that alcohol should not be sold to pregnant women, children and already intoxicated individuals.

Mr Mapilo also had harsh words for what he described as “irresponsible parents”.

“Parents should monitor their children all the time. If your 12- to 17-year-old child is not in the house after six where do you think he or she is? That is irresponsible. Parents must play their role of parenthood and stop blaming other people while they are not doing their duty of being a parent,” he said.

Lefa Mapilo deputy chairperson of Gugulethu Liquor Association believes that it time of liquor traders to consider health and lives than money. He called on all the liquor traders and parents to act responsible and fight coronavirus

David Saula of Popza’s Place said irresponsible traders were affecting other businesses. “This is very sensitive. We are not condoning anarchy. We want traders to stop being reckless,” he said.

The association said it was planning to go door to door to its members to educate them and that some liquor suppliers had started with campaigns to educate them about all the risks during this second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.