Along the KwaZulu Natal coastline there are many small towns that cater to holiday makers.
These towns are all exemplary examples of small business development where a strong and stable middle calls has developed over the years. Small family owned hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, bottle stores, the local cafe, clothing stores, fishing shops, bottle stores, local street vendors with their curios laid out on the pavements and a variety of restaurants all with their own individuality, flavours and character, and often the characters who live there are as colourful as the towns themselves. In some towns that you drive through there is not one single chain store or any known restaurant with a brand name. Very refreshing!
These towns are a unique and an important part of our tourist industry. Their contribution adds the brush strokes to our country and with the wide variety of cultures who live here.
But I heard a ridiculous story this week. Apparently, If you sell any alcohol at all, then you have to be 4 kilometres, as the bird flies nogal, from any church or school.
For anyone who has been down to the coast and stayed at any of these little towns, you will know that you can barely swing a cat between the off ramp and the beach, and in between there will be a school and in some instances 6 churches. .
This stupid law would mean that every bottle store, every restaurant, every B&B, and every small hotel would have to move out of town, and that includes the local grocery store that sells wine.
So what is behind this stupidity?
Dig a bit deeper and you find that large corporate companies have a plan. The plan is this. They do not want competition. Once they have got rid of all the small businesses that are scattered along the coast , by hook or crook or by some ridiculous law that they have greased some palms to implement, they will move in with their own over priced hotels, shopping centres, they own grocery stores, their own bottle stores and their own restaurants. I could name a few of these disgusting fast food joints and plastic restaurants, with their plastic menus plastic food... but some people would argue that it is a matter of taste.
Gone will be the individuality, gone will be the colour, the flavour and the characters. But more important, gone will be small business and the middle class and in it's place a monopoly that has destroyed all competition.
The end result is a two tiered society. The corporates and the slaves. Gone will be innovation, self empowerment and individual enterprise. Much like the cattle grids that already herd us to the tills in these places, forcing us to walk past their unwanted magazines and sweets and at the sound of a bell, like Pavlov's dog, take our turn to pay, so we are devolving into a feudal society, and the Kings of commerce will yet again demand their pound of flesh from their willing, complaint peasants.