Sad plight of tavern owners

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Women tavern owners this week laid bare the challenges they are facing since the government liquor sales as one of the measures to curb the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.

Among those severely impacted by the ban are women-owned outlets, who make up the majority of the registered 34 500 licenced tavern owners in South Africa. According to the National Taverners Council, 54% of tavern owners in the country are women.

Rita Zwane, the owner of “Busy Corner” Imbizo Shisanyama, said the ban has negatively impacted the township economy. “We are businesswomen and are contributing to this economy. We must be recognised as well. It so happened that we chose the liquor industry to make a living and we cannot be punished for that,” Zwane said.

Fanny Mokoena of the Gauteng Liquor Forum said it was a sad sight to see women traders facing difficulties to feed their families. “We are running the risk of having most of the liquor traders out of business by the end of October. I got my tavern licence in 1988. I am what I am today because of this industry. We are standing up because we care about this industry,” said Mokoena.

Lucky Ntimane, convenor of the National Taverners Council, said: “Our traders are now more worried about poverty than COVID-19. We have been talking to a brickwall [government], we would like to call abo mama [women traders] to force this government to listen to us.”

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