Draft Gauteng Liquor Policy published

Monday, 29 August, 2011
Danie Cronjé, Cluver Markotter
The Gauteng Department of Economic Development published its draft Gauteng Liquor Policy for public comment on the 12th of August.
Interested parties have 30 days in which to comment on the policy. Once the policy has been approved it will probably form the basis for amendments to the existing Gauteng Liquor Act.

In the policy the Department admits that there is a backlog of applications for licences before the Gauteng Liquor Board.

It also admits that many decisions of the Board regarding licences are being challenged in court.

According to Danie Cronjé, the Director of Liquor Law Services of Cluver Markotter Incorporated a number of issues relevant to the sale of wine are raised in the policy.

In respect of a possible reduction of the hours and days of sale it is conceded that reducing the hours and days of sale to reduce alcohol consumption will not work affectively unless the unregulated liquor outlets are regulated.

According to Cronje this argument probably also applies to the Western Cape where there are approximately 7 500 licenced outlets compared to between 22 000 and 24 000 illegal outlets.

It does appear from the policy that the opening of liquor outlets in Gauteng on Sunday will be reviewed.

Currently liquor stores and retail outlets are permitted to sell liquor during hours which are shorter than those on other days of the week.

According to the policy the current fee structure for licences will also be reviewed and the holders of licences and applicants for new licences may therefore pay more for these in future.

There is also an indication that restrictions may be placed on advertising of liquor.

In respect of recent speculation that the legal purchasing age for liquor may be raised the Department came the conclusion that the current low enforcement of the existing purchasing age would mean that such action will not be effective and that existing legislation should rather be enforced.

Retailers will be concerned about the fact that the so-called “500m rule” seems to be supported in the policy.

In terms of a provision of the current Gauteng Liquor Act a liquor licence may not be granted within 500m of school, place of worship or residential building or an already licenced premises.

If this provision was to be strictly applied it would mean that the first retailer or liquor store to obtain a licence in a particular shopping centre will be the only one whose application will be successful.

For updates on the policy and other liquor law issues follow Danie Cronjé on Twitter (@Danie_Cronje)
Danie Cronjé
Danie Cronjé

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