Draft Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill published

Tuesday, 20 October, 2009
Danie Cronje, Cluver Markotter
The draft Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill was published for public comment on 16 October 2009.
Interested parties will have until the 23rd of November to comment on the proposed amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act which was approved by the Western Cape Parliament in November last year but has not been put into effect yet.

Minister Alan Winde, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape yesterday presented the draft Bill at a press conference at the Athlone Police Station.

The most important change proposed relates to liquor trading hours.

In terms of this amendment the Liquor Licensing Tribunal will no longer determine the trading days and trading hours of a business when granting a liquor licence.

The relevant municipality will have the power to determine trading days and trading hours for licensed businesses.

If the municipality does not determine trading days and hours, the following default trading days and hours will apply.

Off-consumption licensed businesses such as liquor stores, retail stores and wine estates will be able to sell on any day between 09h00 and 18h00.

On-consumption licensed businesses like restaurants, pubs, clubs etc. will be entitled to sell between 11h00 and 02h00.

In terms of the proposed amendment licence holders will no longer be able to apply for an extension of the hours from 18h00 until 20h00 in the case of off-consumption licensed businesses and from 02h00 to 04h00 for on-consumption licensed businesses.

According to Danie Cronjé the Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Inc. the proposed amendment removing the option of applying for extended trading hours in circumstances where municipalities have not determined trading hours will obviously prejudice retailers who are currently allowed to sell wine until 20h00.

According to Cronjé some of the shortcomings of the Act have not been addressed in the amendment Bill.

One of these is the fact that the Act in its current form does not allow wine estates to apply for temporary liquor licenses to sell bottled wine at wine festivals.

According to Cronjé, the draft Bill does not address the fact that the Act still requires a wine producer who manufactures his wine in the cellar of another to apply for permission to do so from the Liquor Board.

The provisions currently contained in the Act and draft Regulations are cumbersome and an application will probably not be finalised in time for the harvest.

He indicated that representations will be submitted during the public participation process requesting that these provisions be scrapped.