We look back at some of the news stories of the week, from Wendy Alberts’ sit-in at the Union Buildings on Monday to the incredibly sad news that Cape Town bistro La Tête will be closing its doors next week.

RASA CEO stages sit-in at Union Buildings

The Restaurant Association of South Africa’s CEO Wendy Alberts headed to the Union Buildings on Monday the 25th of January after requesting a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa. The requested meeting was to discuss the ban on alcohol and the 9pm to 6am curfew, both of which have been in place since 28 December 2020 and have had huge ramifications for the hospitality industry. RASA successfully submitted a letter to the Presidency, which detailed the challenges facing on-site eating establishments, and it has been received and acknowledged, with appreciation for the constructive proposals made. The President’s office has since referred RASA to engage with the Minister of Tourism, who will directly advise the President. “We immediately communicated with the offices of The Minister of Tourism and requested our letter to be reviewed and for the inter-ministerial team to meet so that their consolidated advice can be taken directly to the President,” said Wendy in a Facebook post. “We have requested that we are represented in this meeting.” The RASA CEO has spent the week at the Union Buildings, campaigning on behalf of the restaurant industry and intends to keep up the pressure until the alcohol ban is lifted.


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La Tête to close

La Tête restaurant in Cape Town has announced that it will be closing its doors in the first week of February, with its last service on the 6th of February. “Despite great determination to see ourselves through this prohibitive time, we can honestly say that we have tried every avenue to no avail,” the restaurant shared on its social media pages. The restaurant thanked all of its suppliers, patrons and team of 16 staff, and encouraged diners to join them for one last hurrah as they’ll be serving some of their favourite dishes. For a wonderful read on La Tête  and what it brought to the Cape Town food scene, click here for an article from Steve Steinfeld.

R1.2 billion Tourism Equity Fund launched

On Tuesday 26th January, the government launched a fund worth R1.2bn, aimed at aiding transformation in the sector by helping small black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in the tourism industry.  The initial funding of R540m will come from the Department of Tourism’s budget over the next three years, with the rest of the amount from commercial banks and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency. According to Business Insider “the fund will provide financial assistance for acquiring controlling equity in entities in the tourism sector, funding assets or work capital, and new developments.” Businesses that are registered as a legal entity, compliant with SARS, 100% South African owned and 51% black owner-managed and controlled can apply. Applications will be vetted according to criteria that include women and youth ownership, location, and jobs created.

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