Marizka Coetzer
3 minute read
23 Jan 2021
4:50 am

Booze ban: Illegal sales under the table as outlets fight for survival

Marizka Coetzer

'Our restaurant staff will be dying soon if we don’t find a way to bring workable solutions to keep the restaurant industry open and afloat.'

Chris Lotze smoking and drinking at Springbok bar in Hatfield on August 18, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa. It is reported that South Africa entered the first day of Level 2 of the national lockdown as new regulations come into effect. South Africans can now legally have 10 visitors at home and buy alcohol and cigarettes. (Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

Desperate restaurant owners are defying the liquor ban, risking massive fines and losing their liquor licences to save their struggling businesses and jobs. “We are fighting for our lives,” said one owner who sells alcohol under the table, despite Police Minister Bheki Cele’s warning to restaurants not to undermine the law by selling drinks in “teapots”. Since the start of the ban, the restaurant’s turnover dropped by 60%. “We have eight stores nationwide with each employing about 40 staff. A total of 35 staff had to be retrenched; 35 families have now lost an income. It has been extremely difficult....