Mbabane: Local liquor traders have not ruled out the possibility of engaging in protest action should all other means of resuming operation fail.
The liquor traders and their executive had gathered at the George Hotel in Manzini in a highly charged national consultative meeting where they sought possible steps to be engaged by the association to lift the liquor ban by the government. The association also sought an alternative to the required for renewal of liquor licenses after the 5 months of non-operation. Lastly, they wanted to know how government could compensate the members’ incurred losses as well as accessing loans to address the 5 months ban on liquor trading.
Other than the proposed protest action other options the association has in plan are to go to court or send a petition to Parliament. This emerged in the liquor traders and executive high charged meeting held at the George Hotel in Manzini on September 2.
Members of the association said their resolve to engage in a strike action would be with intent to show government how that they are desperate for resumption of their businesses, and not to treat government with contempt and dishonor. “We depend on alcohol sales to support our families and it is worse with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected other means of making a living,” said a trader identified as Potgieter. He wondered how government could turn a blind eye to the needs of the association when they (association) pays both the traders licenses and their renewal.
Potgieter said they can as well start early to make preparations which would include lobbying transport operators and unions, but on the latter entity the association would have to be prepared to pay up. “Unions usually participate in a protest march for a fee and it goes to show how that we need to have an account where we can keep our money, which we would use for causes,” said Potgieter.
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