President Cyril Ramaphosa to respond on Friday, after consultation with national command council to a letter demanding him to alter regulations banning the sale of alcohol during the lockdown, after consultations with central command team.
The presidency yesterday requested the Gauteng Liquor Forum to hold off on the court case it intends on bringing, pending a meeting with the National Command Council this week.
The letter written by state attorney Arista Wasserman stated: “The National Command Council, the presidency and other relevant parties are meeting again this week, specifically to discuss the details of government’s economic assistance programme. This includes assistance offered to small businesses such as those of your clients, and other measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown extension.”
Wasserman said they anticipated that the results of the discussions could have an impact on the issues raised by the forum.
“To some of the initiatives that the government put into place is to assist small businesses,” said Wasserman.
Eric Mabuza, the forum’s lawyer, said they reluctantly agreed to the request and said courts should always be deemed as a last resort.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa to respond, the presidency said it has a big meeting and asked us to give them until Friday [to respond]. We are pleased that the president has looked at the issues and is prepared to engage us,” Mabuza said.
Thabiso Modise, the forum’s spokesperson, said the government considered their industry as a soft target which made it easy to ban trading.
“Our people are frustrated because they don’t know what to do. They are spending money that is meant to go towards their businesses because they don’t have a source of income,” Modise said.
Modise said the government is acting as if they are responsible for the decisions made by people who drink.
“ We are just traders making a living,” said Modise.
The forum represents 20,000 SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) in Gauteng. Modise said these SMEs include bottle stores, taverns, shebeens and other businesses like spaza shops.
President Cyril Ramaphosa to respond, as accused of failing to understand the needs of his people and that Ramaphosa was not economically affected by the lockdown.
Pertunia Mahlatsi, who runs a tavern in Pimville, Soweto, said the lockdown was necessary and that she did not agree with the call for the government to alter regulations to their benefit, because she makes R3,000 per week.