Swaziland
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CALL FOR BOTTLE STORES TO CLOSE AT 10PM

MANZINI – Some liquor traders want trading hours for bottle stores to be extended from 7pm to 10pm.

The businesspeople have decried that the current stipulated trading hours restricted them from generating profits, especially those operating on Eswatini Nation Land (ENL). They made the recommendation during an executive members’ meeting of the Swaziland National Liquor Association at the Manzini Club yesterday. The members said customers’ general knock-off time was 5pm, at which they left their places of employment and went home to relax for a few hours. “You find that they will relax for about two hours before they go out to buy drinks. By the time they decide to go out for drinks, we are expected to close. It doesn’t make sense,” the liquor operators said.

They then suggested that the trading hours for bottle stores should be extended to 10pm, so that they could be in a position to generate profits just like bar owners. They also submitted that practically speaking, they only operated once a week, which was Saturday, and they were hardly making any money. They suggested that government should grant them licences to operate wine malts, so that they could operate until late. On another note, the executive members submitted that it was not easy to get licences to operate on ENL, especially because they were required to get approval from the King. “In principle, if you look at the law, it is the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade that should be responsible for issuing these licences,” said the members.

Customers

Responding to the recommendation, Mandla Hlatshwayo, who is the secretary general of the association, explained that the operations of a bottle store were in such a way that customers bought and returned home to enjoy their drinks. “So how do you justify wanting the hours to be extended when customers only buy and leave?” he queried. He said the most important thing was to request for consent from chiefs to build structures of bars so that they could operate until the 10pm.