Gauteng Liquor Forum – consult us before you draft legislation

 

The government is proposing new bylaws, one of which is that pubs, bars and taverns may no longer display cigarettes.

The Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF), with a membership of more than 10 000 tavern owners in Gauteng, has supported the recent call by the South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) which called on Government to consult with affected parties properly, before proceeding with its proposed ban on the display of cigarettes; and other bylaws.

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The forum, which has members in Alexandra, is currently conducting surveys of taverns to assess the potential impact the new law may have on its members. It’s believed the government will publish the legislation for comment in December, during their busiest period.

Fanny Mokoena, chairperson of the forum said, “We have experienced a similar lack of consultation by the Department of Health on its proposed ban on all indoor smoking. Businesses, especially those located in townships, are struggling to make ends meet and we cannot have a situation where our members are asked to invest in indoor smoking areas, only to have them demolished once the government decides to change the laws.

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“Complying with the proposed legislation is expensive, but also unrealistic. One of the proposals is to ban smoking 10 metres from any door, window or pathway. I challenge the government, or anyone for that matter, to find one single township where this will work. This 10-metre sweet spot just doesn’t exist in townships.”

Mokoena added that the forum was deeply concerned the Department of Health may publish legislation for comment in December, which will make it extremely difficult for members to respond thoroughly and appropriately. “This will be during our busiest time of year.

“We’re currently conducting a survey of our members to find out how the proposals that are being [proposed] by the Department of Health [will impact us].”

Though the research isn’t finished yet, Mokoena said, so far, they were already seeing the signs of ‘troubled times’ for people with businesses in townships. “Township businesses are never consulted about any new laws and they are very worried that government has no idea how badly the Department of Health’s proposals will impact their businesses.

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“Many are saying that if they comply with new laws, their customers will simply move to taverns that don’t comply, which will have an adverse impact on those people that eke out an honest livelihood.”

Mokoena said they wanted the government to know that, while the forum supported interventions that promote health, there were far better ways of achieving those results, and these included educating people on the adverse impact of smoking.

Details: Phumzile Ratladi 083 975 5709.

What do you think of the proposed smoking laws? Tweet @AlexNewsZA to share your views.

  AUTHOR
Sipho Siso

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