News | South Africa
Disgruntled unlicensed liquor traders around Gauteng have urged government to grant permits or an amendment of the legislation dealing with selling liquor to accommodate small liquor traders.
According to some unlicensed traders, applying for a trading licence has been more expensive than keeping the business opened, after Gauteng police closed more than 40 unlicensed liquor outlets in the past week.
A shebeen owner only known as Bra Zweli said the application required a lot of administration, while illegal outlets were unregulated which made things easier for many of them.
“Including the initial fee of R2 200, it honestly feels like they do not want us to apply. For a person who doesn’t have much, how do they expect you to afford a place to operate from?” he asked.
“This is a market that is competitive. People want to outsell others and it is dangerous.”
He said even though there is a standard fee, many people have paid more than R10 000 to at least overlook other requirements.
He said while many illegal shebeen owners want licences, many come from disadvantaged communities and hardly have the capital to start the business, let alone abide by the law. Another unlicensed trader, Siphiwe Zama, said he had been involved in the trade his entire life, having taken over the “business” from his father.
“My father owned a licensed outlet in Alexandra and when we moved he continued to sell from the premises in Alex,” he said.
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“Many people knew he ran a liquor place and would often come to our house to see if they could buy any alcohol, or if he could organise anything for them.”
Zama said when his father died he assumed responsibility of the business and because he was not registered as the manager, he eventually found himself without a licence.
He failed to renew it because of the red tape involved.
“The business eventually closed down due to the family’s financial situation,” he said.