Tavern turned down

Pilisos Tavern in Bloekombos

Councillors have shot down a Bloekombos tavern’s application for a liquor licence, saying it’s too close to schools and the building itself is unsafe.

Piliso’s Tavern has been closed for several months, and it doesn’t look like it will be reopening any time soon after the decision at Sub-council 2 last week.

Ward 101 councillor Luyanda Mbele supported the tavern’s licence application, but the majority of the sub-council disagreed.

According to sub-council documents, the tavern is too close to two schools and a creche, and its stairway – which is both its entrance and fire escape – is cracked and the rail rusted.

The City planning and building development department had no formal record of the building plan being approved.

Mr Mbele said the tavern had been running for many years without any problems but suddenly last year, it had had to close down.

He said the business generated income for the family who ran it and their employees.

But, proportional representative councillor Siseko Mbandezi said there was no way councillors could support the application, especially when considering the state of the staircase.

He cited a 2015 incident where eight young women were killed and six others injured after a stampede at a tavern in Makhaza, Khayelitsha.

“I understand they need to generate an income, but there are other ways,” he said.

Ward 6 councillor Simpiwe Nonkeyizana said he did not understand why the proximity of the schools was cited as reason to reject the application, when other taverns in the area, which were closer to the schools, had been approved.

Ward 8 councillor Marian Nieuwoudt said she understood the complexity of the issue, as the tavern had been there before the schools but she said councillors could not allow an unsafe building to be open to the public.

The tavern’s owners had also had an opportunity to submit building plans.

“We will not be doing our jobs as councillors if we approve this application,” she said.

Sub-council 2 chairman Grant Twigg questioned why the tavern had not done repair and maintenance work over the past few years.

Yandiso Piliso told Northern News he was unaware the application had been rejected.

He said his wife, Zine Linda, was out of town and did not even know that the matter would be on the agenda. He said they had applied last year but the application had been rejected.

Mr Piliso said they had submitted the building plans and, to his knowledge, there had not been anyone to inspect the property.

He could not understand why the application had been rejected and said there was nothing wrong with this staircase.

“We have been closed since July last year and had been waiting all this time for our application to be approved,” he said.