Owner of Ntombi’s Tavern in Tembisa joins SAB court bid to have booze ban lifted
Pretoria - The founder and owner of Ntombi’s Tavern in Tembisa can no longer let her constitutional rights be stripped away and has decided to take a stand for all those who depend on her.
Ntombi Sibiya decided to take her plight to the Western Cape High Court, where she has joined the South African Breweries and two other individuals in their urgent application to have the government ban on the sale of alcohol overturned.
No date has yet been set for the hearing, and government has until Friday to file its opposing papers.
Sibiya is, however, ready to meet Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the government in court.
She said business owners have been feeling the pinch since the lockdown was first introduced in March last year. With the third total ban on the sale of alcohol currently in place, many small businesses are left with no means to support their families.
Sibiya said with no light at the end of the tunnel as to when the alcohol ban will be lifted, she and others in her position are left with no income to support their families.
She said she has been left with no choice but to approach the courts to protect her livelihood.
After a hard week’s work, the people of Tembisa flock to their favourite local watering hole, Ntombi’s Tavern, to connect with their community and reminisce on the “ups and downs of life as we know it”. Or at least they used to because this once-thriving small business was again forced to shut down owing to the third alcohol ban.
Sibiya said to try and make ends meet, she had no choice but to join forces with SA Breweries.
“At this point I have two options. I can either protect my business by fighting for the rights promised to me by our Constitution, or shut down and put everyone who depends on me at risk. I have chosen to take a stand for myself and my family.”
Her only source of income, Ntombi’s Tavern, is more than just a lifeline for Sibiya.
“I currently care for seven dependants including my six grandchildren, of whom four are still at school. My son was retrenched due to the impact of the lockdown and can no longer provide for his children. It is all up to me and my tavern to support him during this hard time.”
Ntombi’s Tavern has been in operation for approximately 35 years. During this time the business has opened its doors to generations of families and established itself as a popular “get-together spot” for the Tembisa community.
This popularity has seen Ntombi’s Tavern grow into a business that, at the beginning of 2020, was able to order and re-sell an approximate average of 2 400 cases of beer per month.
For Sibiya, the consistency of this revenue has been unduly interrupted, and this she ascribed to the fluctuating restrictions on the sale of liquor imposed by the government.
“I have exhausted every option to save myself, my employees and all our families. The financial strain this ban puts on us is too much and we are all quickly running out of time.”
Sibiya has even been forced to take several commercial steps, including laying off employees and delving into her personal savings to keep the business afloat.
“The money will soon run out, and I predict that Ntombi’s Tavern will soon be unable to make ends meet. If the current alcohol ban continues, I will be forced to permanently close my life’s work. This will be devastating for my family and my remaining employees. My only option is to fight this.
“Selling beer to my community is my chosen trade, and has been for the last 25 years. During this time I have been able to pursue this trade legally and profitably. The government’s restrictions on the sale of alcohol changed my world without warning,” Sibiya said.