The Enoch Mgijima Liquor Traders Forum marched to the Komani Town Hall on Wednesday to deliver a memorandum that advocates the eradication of foreign nationals without citizenship who are operating within EMLM from the liquor industry.
The memorandum, which was directed to the executive mayor, Sisisi Tolashe, requested the removal of illegal immigrants from liquor trading as they were not creating any job opportunities but rather traded irresponsibly and used their premises for drug operations.
Forum secretary Phumeza Mbuti said these individuals were exploiting local youths by using them as sex slaves and destroying the good reputation of legal liquor traders. “We are here to plead with the mayor to work accordingly and take note of our concerns. We want these individuals to be removed from this industry as they are demolishing the careers of young people. Whenever there are reported cases of crime which take place in their business premises we are also affected,” said Mbuti.
The memorandum also requested the implementation of by-laws to assist liquor traders in operating their businesses. The document read, “They (illegal immigrants) are not boosting the economy as they are not tax payers. Instead they leave with ransom money to their country. They are denting the image of our businesses because they also sell drugs. This leads to a doomed future for our children as we raise nothing but thieves, murderers and drop-outs. Mental institutions are overflowing with their victims. This is exhausting funds from our government which they are not compensating for.”
Mbuti said they had given the executive mayor seven days to respond to the forums’ requests, failing which the forum will embark on another march.
“We have also written letters to people who are renting out their premises to these illegal tavern owners, requesting a session that will engage with them about the negative outcomes of this matter,” added Mbuti.
In response to a recent case where a patron was stabbed to death in a local tavern owned by a foreign national, Mbuti said the forum was aware of the incident and mentioned that it was not the first time that such a thing had happened. “The forum was informed that a young person was stabbed to death at Mzoxolo’s Tavern in Mlungisi, although the deceased did not die at the premises. This is the third incident at the same tavern. We hear community members have shut the tavern down.”
EMLM legal services general manager Zolile Vumazonke apologised for the mayor’s absence and accepted the memorandum on her behalf. “The mayor assures you that these concerns and demands will be addressed.”