The government is shredding its goodwill faster than police minister Bheki Cele can say "booze ban" or transport minister Fikile Mbalula can toady up to taxi bosses.On Friday, hospitality workers staged a peaceful protest outside parliament to highlight the plight of a sector that’s been brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps it was the temerity of South Africans asking the government to #ServeUsPlease that made the police see red — or, perhaps, it was the flutter of ribbons ensuring social distancing in the human chain — but the response was predictably heavy-handed: police lobbed stun grenades and dispersed protesters with a water cannon.SA’s restaurant industry would be struggling even without the chokehold of regulation: patrons are struggling financially, and many would simply rather eat at home than put themselves at risk. Factor in the sacrifice of seating space to create social distance, the curfew that curtails the dinner trade, and the ban on even limited ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now