The upside of longer trading
More cartoons online at Unathi Sonwabile Henama is a tourism researcher and writes in his personal capacity.
AS A tourism expert, I was in 100 percent support of the Gauteng Liquor Board decision to extend the operating hours for liquor outlets for the weekend, when the ANC will be hosting its annual birthday celebration at Orlando Stadium.
The oldest liberation movement in Africa remains a mass democratic movement that attracts thousands of supporters whenever it hosts events.
Its mass appeal remains robust even after it was humbled during the August 3 local government elections.
Gauteng businesses from street hawkers, accommodation providers and the entire tourism-value chain will benefit. Any attempt to ensure that Gauteng businesses benefit more from the celebrations must be commended, and where there is a need for criticism, let the criticism be developmental.
The ANC did not apply to the Gauteng Liquor Board for an extension of the operating hours to take advantage of the thousands of tourists who will attend the event. Gauteng-based liquor businesses sought the special dispensation liquor licences for the January 6 to 8 period.
I have attended several January 8 celebrations and they are alcohol-free zones guarded by security and marshals ensuring there is law and order.
The ANC Women’s League issued a statement against the extension, which started a snowball effect that dominated the national discourse.
The Gauteng Liquor Board canned the extension, bowing to immense public outcry after consulting Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile.
All I know is that sooner than later, the special dispensation liquor licence will re-emerge, watch this space.
Unfortunately, our national discourse is defined by a continuum of those against and those for, which leaves very little space for proper engagement as our public discourse is dominated by foaming at the mouth and shouting at the top of our voices.
This makes finding the middle ground so much more difficult, when one seeks to highlight the merits and the demerits.
I have been a resident of Gauteng for the past 10 years, and during recess periods that include December, I take the traditional trips outside the province to places
Extension of liquor operating hours would bring huge benefits to host cities for celebrations
which we call “home” away from Gauteng.
Gauteng remains the most populated province and continues to drive the economy of South Africa.
The high disposable income of Gauteng residents has led to other provinces all seeking to ensure that they benefit from the tourism Madibas from Gauteng.
Unofficially the language of Gauteng Tourism is that you must keep the residents off the beaches, and ensure that they spend most of their money within Gauteng.
The mass exodus from Gauteng negatively affects businesses as some temporarily close down after the silly season, meaning salaries are lost as there is little to no business.
The outward migration of those who work in Gauteng means that during the festive season, Gauteng is robbed of the highly sought after income that is spent in urban and rural economies outside the province.
A glance at the news usually indicates that all the major roads are dominated by traffic coming to Gauteng at the end of the festive season while the resort towns located on the more than 2000km of coastline will be smiling all the way to the bank after exploiting the wallets of those who would have descended on their towns and cities.
I had the pleasure of seeing many migrant workers from Pretoria in Polokwane attending the Mapungubwe Music Festival, which was an event that sought to increase the expenditure of locals and domestic tourists who visit a place they call home.
I have been to several towns and cities during this season and observed a plethora of outlets that have extended their operating hours without approval because they were responding to the masses that had descended on their destinations. I would be the first to agree that there is a national problem of drinking and driving which is linked to the night time economy which is primary entertainment led, and foodand-beverage-led around clubs, bars and restaurants.
It is the same night time economy that creates jobs which we all need desperately. Companies such as Uber have been able to reduce the challenges of drinking and driving in response to concerns linked to the extended operating hours.
Public outcry does not create jobs, nor put food on the table.
The tsunami of public outcry, tainted with political “haga-haga” has negatively affected a very creative strategy that would have been of benefit to the economy of Gauteng and an opportunity for a second festive season.
There is a tourism benefit in events such as January 8 celebrations for host cities.
LET IT FLOW: Gauteng businesses, from street hawkers and accommodation providers to the entire tourism value chain, would benefit from extended liquor trading hours, says the writer.