South Africa, Smoking ban 'will kill local restaurants' say taverners.
Gxotiwe hobnobbing with President Zuma .
Township based restaurant and tavern owners from Khayelitsha and Gugelethu have come out with guns smoking against a proposed law restricting public place smoking to ten metres from a window, entrance or walkway.
They say this will be a death knell to their establishments.
Moses Gxothiwe, owner of the Buyel'embo Village, a popular restaurant and event venue in Khayelitsha says that if implemented, the proposed law will mean that patrons will have to walk out into the road to smoke a cigarette.
His venue is an open grassed space with a small stage upfront, encircled by tables and chairs under cover. Currently smoking happens in the central grassed space.
"It's a long walk to the road from inside my restaurant.
We do what we can to keep people safe, and sending people out into the road to have a smoke will expose them to crime and violence.
It's quite likely that people will get outside and simply decide to go home.
In fact, I believe many people will simply stay home so they can smoke in peace and not go out at all which will have terrible consequences for our small businesses which create much needed jobs and income."
"The Government wants to support small business on paper but in reality they don't. This is a growing business which employs 12 people and these laws will cause big problems for me."
Gxothiwe explained that the proposed regulations are completely out of touch with the realities of township life and culture.
"These rules may work for fancy bars in town, but out here in Khayelitsha it's going to be a disaster.
People live in small houses, close to each other and the streets aren't safe.
People like to be able to get together in a safe place where they can spend time with family and friends. This law will put an end to that way of life."
The tavern owners and Gxothiwe are sure that President Zuma would not agree to regulations that effectively harm township business.
"Does he even know about this proposed law and the problems it will bring?"
The South African Police Service (SAPS) will be tasked with ensuring compliance with the law.
Gxothiwe is a former policeman and he believes the SAPS should be left alone to deal with the real issues impacting life in the townships.
He says, "Policing smoking regulations is a very poor use of the cops time. In truth, it will be impossible for township businesses to comply and this means that they will be operating on the wrong side of the law. This is not what we want.
We understand that the Government wants to stop people from smoking but this is not the way to do it. "Anyway, people have rights and a choice to smoke or not