The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is disgusted by the hypocrisy and double standards demonstrated by Gauteng’s Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, after he announced that Gauteng has received a comprehensive briefing to launch “Taverns of the Future,” which will blow people’s minds with a certain alcohol brand.

This is an extremely startling U-turn for someone who once declared (4 years ago) that “the sooner we realize that this drug called alcohol is destroying and ravaging our nation, the better. I fail to understand why people worship this drug.” Now that Heineken is here to take over the township economy, he sings politics of the stomach, claiming that his personal views are not to be confused with his work.

The so-called ngcwele-ngcwele (someone who appears innocent), who is covered in a sheepskin, once made an admission that there were actual issues with alcohol consumption: “The problems of alcohol are real. This problem of alcohol needs brave soldiers, not the faint-hearted. An alcohol-free South Africa is possible; let’s build it now.”

It is disheartening to learn that our supposed leaders are enthusiastic with Heineken’s “vision” for the township economy. Which of this brand’s visions can truly help tavern owners without turning them into vagrants and denying them control over their own economy? How far along are we with the Spaza Shops that illegal foreigners have taken over?

It is time for tavern owners, local officials, and other civic groups that back the self-made township economy to take a stand and point out Panyaza Lesufi’s shortcomings. Why is he not able to help the owners of the tavern by cultivating what they already have? Rather than sending a company such as Heineken to control them with its purported “vision”. Why do these leaders believe that hijacking, raping, and harming the township economy is always acceptable?

The UDM can safely argue that the end goal is not merely about “creation of jobs,” but to make sure that tavern owners have someone (slave-master) to report to. We should be encouraging South Africans to obtain trading documents rather than allowing brands like Heineken to trade in their spaces. We must use every resource at our disposal to save the township economy, which is expanding and that they intend to devour while the owners of that sector are treated like ordinary employees under this so-called “vision” that Heineken is ready to introduce.

Issued by:
United Democratic Movement National Office
Mr Yongama Zigebe
UDM Secretary General