Liquor traders cry foul of law

2016-10-20 06:00
 Temba Nolutshungu, PK Stamper, Pumi Nxazonke, Mala Ndumela and Keith Ntoyi, of Vulta.

Temba Nolutshungu, PK Stamper, Pumi Nxazonke, Mala Ndumela and Keith Ntoyi, of Vulta.

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A liquor trader’s organisation in Khayelitsha says that many of its members will have to close their doors, due to a proposed new National Liqour Policy (NLP) regulation, which wants to raise the legal drinking age to 21 years.

One of the new regulations is also that liquor licences have been increased from to R3000.

Vumela Liquor Traders Association, which has been in existence for 39 years, said that this has forced many traders to close their businesses.

Keith Ntoyi, the chairman, explained that if the new regulation is passed, it will hit local businesses were it hurts most.

“Especially at a time when unemployment in the country has reached very serious levels and the economy shrinking.

The NLP proposal is that the national minimum legal drinking age be raised from 18 to 21 years.

The proposal is totally unrealistic considering that for a very large sector of the population practicing the traditional custom of initiation into manhood, the general age is around 17 and 18 years.

“The age at which a person can join the army is 17 years. At 18 years of age people are allowed to get married. This is a serious step in any person’s life as it marks the beginning of a lifetime of all sorts of serious responsibilities and commitments.

“VULTA is of the strong view that proposed age restriction be scrapped and that 18 years is a reasonable minimum age consumption of liquor products.

Then there is also the proposal regarding the zoning requirements to be complied with. Many businesses operate from family houses.

In some cases extension to the original house are used for various trading purposes and in some cases separate structures have been constructed in the yards

This is one proposal that will put all township based liquor traders out of business.

We also propose that the zoning compliance requirement proposal be totally scrapped,” Ntoyi said.

According to VULTA the NLP’s proposal for even stricter regulation of trading hours, is also unreasonable.

They said that anyone who understands the township culture knows that the townships come alive mostly after working hours and that this continues until very late.

Janet Nompumelelo Nxazonke, the secretary of VULTA, added that restricting trading hours does not make sense.

“It will not stop people from drinking as they will stock up in their cars or homes.

Granted that the purpose is for people to drink less, this is not happening, even with the current trading hours. Stricter trading hours will not result in less drinking,” she said.

Western Cape Liqour Authority’s Nwabisa Mpalala said the National Liquor Amendment Bill is currently open for comments.

“Traders or members of the public are welcome to comment on this bill, airing their concerns and comments,” said Mpalala.

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