From the Gauteng Liquor Forum to all the traders, we wish you a Happy New Year. We hope you had a wonderful festive season looking forward to 2017.
When we closed the season, we received bad news from the Gauteng Liquor Board, who decided to go ahead with the implementation of a 100% increase in liquor license fees. This was despite the reassurances of newly appointed director Raymond Martin that our submissions objecting to the fee increase had been received. When I met him at the World of Beer, he told me that our submissions were in front of the Portfolio Committee under the eye of Mr Langerman, the chairman, and that we could expect to hear good results.
Our proposal was that the fee should increase but not by as much as 100%. Rather, the increase should go up gradually over three years. Why should the traders be punished when the Board has not increased the fee for three years?
Why should the traders be punished when the Board has not increased the fee for three years?
To make matters worse, we were misinformed that the Gauteng Liquor Board receives the least amount of fees of any board in the country. We conducted our own research and found that, on the contrary, Gauteng takes in the most. Unfortunately, when this was mentioned, the Portfolio Committee did not respond. Instead, when we met them at Caesar’s Palace to voice our complaints, they suggested that we put them in writing. We have heard nothing further from them until today.
Previously we dealt with Mr Mgcina. Now we feel as though we cannot trust the Portfolio Committee. Although they talk about building the economy, they do not appear to have the interests of the liquor industry at heart. Do we not also contribute to employment?
On a different tack, as we come out of the festive season and head into 2017, drunken driving is a serious concern. If things do not change, the public may turn on the liquor trade. Let’s prevent that from happening by taking the lead ourselves and trading responsibly. The country observed the nonsmoking rules without any policeman enforcing them. Let’s learn from that example and regulate our industry ourselves this year.