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'Smoke ban will choke businesses'

20 August 2013 - 02:35 By TJ Strydom

A ban on indoor smoking, and restrictions outdoors, will cause more problems than it solves, claim Gauteng's tavern and shebeen owners.

The province's liquor traders associations yesterday added their voice to that of traders in the Western Cape, saying the rules proposed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi would just be another burden for small business.

The Gauteng Liquor Forum, which claims to have more than 20000 taverns and shebeens as members, is especially irked by the plan to restrict smoking to outside areas 10m from public doorways or windows.

"The regulations are unrealistic and unenforceable and will result in people simply ignoring the law," said the forum's president, Linda Madida.

"Where we operate in the townships, if you smoke 10m from a window or a door, you are already inside your neighbour's place," he said.

Motsoaledi said last week his department plans to go ahead with the new rules. But the department cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

"The regulations are not yet out," the department's spokesman, Joe Maila, said yesterday.

"My worry is that people are just saying things without seeing the actual regulations," he said.

No date has been set for the implementation of the regulations and Maila said: "We are not committing to a time."