Kasi liquor traders are unhappy

Members of the Western Cape Liquor Organisation who say they are being targeted by authorities.

Township liquor traders say they are merely trying to make a living and provide a better life for their children, but feel like they are being targeted by the police.

In addition to this, they also fear the threat posed by the increasing number of chain liquor stores moving into the townships.

The Western Cape Liquor Organisation (WCLO), which represent traders, said they were frustrated that their traders were being shut down by police while chain stores continued to do business.

The WCLO likened the situation to that which existed under apartheid when township residents were not allowed to sell liquor and accused government of trying to discredit their businesses.

Their secretary Lefa Mapilo and organiser Neo Motinyane said their members were unhappy.

“We are targeted and yet there are chain stores that are allowed to do as they please in our areas. We should prioritise when licences are issued.

“These are our areas. We are not ashamed to sell liquor.

“The government should know that liquor problems are problems generally,” said Mr Mapilo.

He said the organisation had a code of conduct which all traders had to abide by and members were obliged to trade responsibly. “Why jail the breadwinner and a provider?

“We want to provide for our families. We want to take our children to schools like any other person.

“We are also saying to the government, do not shut down our businesses, regulate them. We do not encourage people to sell liquor irresponsibly,” he said.

“We need to be respected. We know that we are part of the community so we cannot torment the same community we are in.

“The government criminalises and demonises our business and we are against that.

“We are aware that we can be a nuisance, by making noise, closing the roads and peeing on people’s walls,” he said.

However, Mr Motinyane also questioned the granting of liquor licences to stores close to schools such as Oscar Mpetha High and John Pama Primary in Nyanga, which he said were “within 50m” of the liquor store.

“You ask yourself who gave the licences to the store.

Had it been a township man, that store would long been closed down.

“We really need consistency on these issues That licence was not supposed to be granted,”he said.

Nyanga police spokesman, Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi, said traders needed to do things the right way and emphasised that those running illegal businesses would be arrested.

Captain Sitshitshi said those who have licences will also be arrested if they do not comply with their licences.

“Compliance inspection is done and if they do not comply, police arrest them.

“They are suppose to operate according to their licence conditions. If not, they are charged. Remember liquor contribute a lot to crime.

She said those who would like to apply for liquor licences are welcome to visit the office of the Western Cape Liquor Authority for more information.

Western Cape Liquor Authority assistant director: communication, education and stakeholder relations, Nwabisa Mpalala, said the application process allows the public to provide comments for or against an application.

“Based on the information placed in front of the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT), they consider the application and made their determination.

“This information is then presented in an application including representations from the public and other interested parties if it is submitted as part of the application.

“The decision of the LLT can also be taken on review to the Appeals Tribunal if interested parties are not agreeing to the outcome of the application,”she said, encouraging the public to do so if they are not happy with the outcome of the LLT.