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On Wednesday, across South Africa, waiters, chefs and restaurant owners will peacefully protest under the #JobsSaveLives banner.

Related article: [WATCH] JobsSaveLives: Desperate waiters, chefs and owners take to the streets

Earlier in the week, Professor Ruth Hall (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies) said that the economy under lockdown “cannot sustain life”.

Read: 'In South Africa right now children are starving, eating wild plants to survive'

South Africa’s roughly 15 000 sit-down restaurants directly employ 500 000 people (Fitch SA Consumer & Retail Report).

Only 1500 restaurants are part of a franchise – the rest are small businesses.

Most restaurants are unable to stay in business despite limited sit-downs and the preparation of take-out meals.

Related article: 'We tried Uber Eats, MR D to survive. We’ve stopped now. The costs cut too deep'

Refilwe Moloto interviewed Margot Janse, chief Eat Out Awards judge and founder of Isabelo Charity.

No child can learn on an empty stomach.

Isabelo Charity

Janse is deeply attached to the community in Franschhoek, a once-booming town utterly dependent on the restaurant, food and hospitality trade.

Many restaurants in Franschhoek – unable to trade profitably – remain closed, perhaps forever.

Janse spoke about the protest which promises to be peaceful and entertaining with streets closed and food served.

We’re a small community… Sho, it’s not just the restaurants. It’s also the wineries and hospitality. The ripple effect is devastating.

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

The curfew and alcohol ban… it’s not worth opening… Restaurants are beyond being on their knees.

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

People love Franschhoek… but if there’s nothing to come for? … On the first day that restaurants were allowed to open… People drove from Cape Town, but there wasn’t a single restaurant that decided to open because it’s not financially viable.

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

Probably about 70% of people [in Franschhoek are employed in these affected industries] … People are not eating! … We need to be heard!

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

We will stick to all Covid-19 protocols [when protesting]. We’ve engaged with Saps… Maybe we will be heard? …

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

The curfew needs to move to a more realistic time that is respectful to our industry. The alcohol ban needs to be relaxed for the hospitality industry… We should be allowed to act as adults… Let us get back on our feet!

Margot Janse, chief judge - Eat Out Awards

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


Posted by James Stewart on Wednesday, 22 July 2020

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Once-booming Franschhoek is on its knees: 'People are not eating!'

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