Tavern divides Station Hill

ALL ABOVE BOARD: Owner of Mellow-Wood Tavern, Nomawanga Stuurman, defends her right to earn an income at her new premises in Muisvogel Street. Picture: LOUISE CARTER
ALL ABOVE BOARD: Owner of Mellow-Wood Tavern, Nomawanga Stuurman, defends her right to earn an income at her new premises in Muisvogel Street. Picture: LOUISE CARTER

STATION Hill residents are up in arms about a tavern which has moved premises and is now situated only 120m away from Port Alfred Primêre Skool in Muisvogel Street. Mellow-Wood Tavern opened last week.

Neighbouring residents have come forward to complain about the tavern, saying they gave no consent for it to move to their street and questioning if it was operating legally.

Angry tavern owner Nomawanga Stuurman hit back at residents who have criticised her business, accusing them of being racist and conspiring against her. Stuurman, using some
colourful language when she spoke to TotT, said as far she was concerned, the complainants had no business complaining about her tavern as her liquor licence was in order.

She operated the tavern at a previous location for nearly 10 years, and also lives on the premises with her two children. She said a public participation meeting was held last year to discuss the location, without any objections. “It’s because I’m black. If they didn’t want the tavern here they should have come to me and talked. But they are jealous, and I need to earn a living, so as far as I’m concerned they can go and f*** themselves,” she said.

Regarding the public participation meeting, highlighted by Stuurman, resident Alvene Mente disputed the structure of that meeting.

She said only a few people knew about it and the names signed on a petition approving the tavern were those of residents who lived in the area where it was previously located.

“Personally, I have no problem with someone running a business and earning a living but she needs to respect the residents who live around her,” Mente said.

Ward 9 councillor Marilyn Tarentaal said she followed the procedure and informed residents of the public participation meeting and even had representatives going door-to-door, and that “everyone” gave their consent. “This lady followed the whole procedure for the liquor licence, papers went out, people signed petitions and these were passed by the Liquor Board. Those who came to the meeting said they were okay with it,” Tarentaal said.

Mente accused the councillor of being a liar. “People were never informed, and if the meeting was called, it was done last minute and no one knew about it.” Stuurman admitted she
had no licence to operate as a business, but said she had paid her liquor licence application in full to Ndlambe municipality. “If they want to close my tavern, they must close all
the taverns. None of these f*****s have paid money for these so-called business licences,” she said. “We have never had problems at the tavern, nobody has ever been hurt
here so if they want to close me down, they need to give me a job first,” she said.

Municipal spokesperson Cecil Mbolekwa said: “Indeed they are required to have business licences and [a] liquor licence. There is also a process of public participation where the
communities are expected to comment on the existence of a tavern in their area. “Remember that a tavern is not supposed to be close to school or church but that decision lies with the community. As for the monitoring of times for taverns, that becomes the responsibility of police service.”

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