Durban - Many South Africans rely on liquor businesses for their livelihoods, but with the recent mass shootings at taverns, these occupations are in jeopardy.
Ian Cameron, the director of Community Safety at non-profit organisation Action Society, said there is a broader protection racket in the communities that are often targeted.
"There is a heightened risk in these areas for this type of violence. But, that needs to be combated at a higher level," said Cameron.
On the ground level, he said tavern/shebeen owners could take some steps to impede would-be shooters and protect themselves and their customers.
According to reports, over 34 500 South Africans have tavern licences, while 10 000 hold shebeen permits and 2 700 are independent liquor store owners.
Here is his advice for liquor business owners:
- Limit the number of people allowed into the establishments. Through this, it will be much easier to control the crowd and allow for an escape if the worst were to happen.
- Be more strict and comply with legislation in regards to who and what gets served.
- Have private security or ask the neighbourhood watch to be vigilant of people entering the area or monitor those who may be behaving suspiciously.
- Community policing forums can also be asked to assist in safeguarding the streets.
"It’s a known fact that when a community is actively patrolling and controlling an area, the chances for this kind of violence decrease. It is not a quick fix or a complete solution, but it helps," he said.
A tavern owner in Folweni, a township south of Durban, said that while this kind of recent violence has not happened there, he and other such business owners in the area are on high alert.
"This is worrying because we rely on people coming in to drink for income. With these shootings happening all over the country, we are seeing fewer people come in.
"While I understand that they are staying away in fear for their safety, I am saddened that I may lose my ability to make ends meet," said the tavern owner.