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Shebeens in seven Cape Town areas will be moved from within residential areas to business nodes on the edge of the neigbourhoods.
The City of Cape Town is planning to pilot what is known as the High Street model in seven areas.
This week in-depth site assessments were started, which included investigating land use at the sites.
The areas set for the pilot are Gugulethu, Delft, Nyanga, Philippi and Mfuleni. In Khayelitsha, Harare and the TR section have been selected.
Part of the goal is to makes these nodes business corridors.
This is part of the city’s implementation of economic growth and harm reduction campaign.
Earlier this year, Premier Helen Zille and Finance and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde visited Namibia, where the high street model had been implemented.
Belinda Walker, the mayoral committee member for economic, environment and spatial planning, was part of the group that visited Namibia.
Walker said the move would create safer spaces and let other shops reach more customers.
“This will enable shebeens to move from residential areas where residents often complain of noise disruption and anti-social behaviour to areas where there is greater business activity.”
Walker said the city understood the importance of illegal shebeens in the local township economy.
“Recent legislation, however, has sought to stop such practices, because of the disruption these shebeens can cause, especially in residential areas.”
The city was concerned about the economic hardship that the closure of shebeens could have on these individuals’ livelihood.
Business support is to be offered to local shebeen owners.
The city promised that traders would be involved in the process, but the SA Liquor Traders Association (Salta) said it feared for the livelihoods of many small outlets.
However, Salta’s Siwe Coka said the body viewed the plan with caution.
She said while it would be easier for larger establishments to move, smaller outlets would struggle. One option was that these traders could form a co-op, where they shared costs.
She also questioned why the authorities chose a model from another country.
“That is a different situation. We must find tailor-made solutions.”
The biggest concern was that small businesses would be sidelined. Most had not been involved in the decision to implement the model.
If it failed, most would be plunged into poverty, she said.
According to city figures, 245 illegal shebeens were closed last year. It is estimated that there are about 2 800 in the city.