EFF, hospitality workers protest at Tshwane tourism offices against lockdown regulations
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Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa should consider the relaxation of lockdown regulations on the hospitality industry by lifting the alcohol ban and allowing sit-ins at restaurants.
This was the call made by picketers led by the Tshwane EFF members, who demonstrated outside the Department of Tourism offices in Sunnyside.
Chefs, artists, DJs, security guards, cleaners, waiters and waitresses were among the group of picketers, who gathered in front of the department’s offices.
They chanted anti-lockdown slogans and hoisted placards with messages such as “the hospitality industry is collapsing" and ”Ramaphosa is heartless; doesn't care“.
The EFF in Tshwane leads workers in the hospitality industry during a picket outside the Department of Tourism offices in Sunnyside. They want easing of level 4 lockdown regulations. @IOL @EFFSouthAfrica #level4 #lockdown #LockdownSA #EFF pic.twitter.com/iDkNE2xK4S— Pretoria News (@pretorianews) July 20, 2021
Tshwane metro police officers and members of the SAPS were on standby to keep an eye on the demonstration.
The EFF labour desk co-ordinator in Tshwane, Batseba Nchabeleng, said the picket was part of a bid to compel the government to restore normal operations at the restaurants.
In a memorandum of demands addressed to the department's director-general, Victor Tharage, the EFF called for the relaxation of regulations in the hospitality industry.
The party said the current lockdown had affected millions of the already economically ailing households and was bound to do more harm to people's livelihoods should it be kept in place.
Nchabeleng said: "The continued restrictions on access and functionality of the hospitality industry will further frustrate and harm many people across the country."
She said the Tshwane EFF called for the Tourism Minister Mamoloko Kubayi to respond within seven days to calls to restore normal restaurant operations hours.
Waiters and waitresses, who were part of those picketing, said the lockdown rules prohibiting sit-ins at restaurants continued to negatively affect their livelihood.
They used to receive tips from customers during the normal operations of restaurants, but those have since been taken away from them owing to the implementation of level 4 lockdown.
One of the demonstrators, Sello Mashigo from House 22 Pub and Grill, said: "I am here to represent all the waiters and waitresses. It is currently very difficult to operate in this environment, especially when alcohol is banned. We are not saying they should fully open for alcohol but at least they should consider opening for the selling of alcohol for just a few hours a day. A lot of people will get their jobs back and the economy will be boosted."
Nchabeleng said: "They are all minimum wage earners and with the current lockdown regulation in place they depend on tips and they are breadwinners as well. This lockdown is not doing any good to anyone. Why is the government not fast-tracking the process of vaccinating, especially for the people on the front line? It doesn't help that you keep giving us lockdown regulations and you are not coming with solutions."