Smoking rules 'will hurt shebeens'

By Drum Digital
29 June 2012

The Township Liquor Industry Association has come out against proposed new anti-smoking regulations, saying they will hurt township-based shebeens and taverns.

"We are not sure how to implement the draft regulations, as township-based shebeens and taverns operate in unique circumstances," the association's president Tembile Ntlokwana said on Friday.

"We are also not happy with government for telling us how to run our business without consulting us."

Draft regulations proposed by the health department will criminalise smoking in any building, outdoor venue, public or private beach, outdoor drinking or eating area, park, walkway, parking area, or within 10 metres of any door or window.

The association said it was concerned about the safety implications for tavern patrons in high-crime areas, and about the effect the smoking ban on the livelihood of its members.

It represents liquor traders in Western Cape townships.

"By turning away our smoking patrons, or having to police them and essentially treat them like lepers, we will lose business [and] revenue, and will be forced to retrench our workers and shut our doors," Ntlokwana said.

The group has invited Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to visit the townships taverns to appreciate the impracticality of implementing the new, more stringent anti-smoking regulations in such environments.

Current regulations governing public smoking worked well, and the association's voluntary regulations were effective in satisfying both smoking and non-smoking patrons.

The draft regulations disrespected their rights as business owners, and those of their smoking patrons.

The Free Market Foundation, horse racing business Gold Circle, and vending machine association Toba Vending have also made submissions contesting the department's proposals.

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