Government proposes stricter requirements for distributors of liquor

Friday, 13 April, 2012
Cluver Markotter Inc
The Minster of Trade and Industry, Mr. Rob Davis published draft amendments to the regulations under the national Liquor Act which regulates large scale manufacturing of liquor and the distribution thereof to the holders of liquor licences.
Interested persons may submit written comments by the 1st of June 2012.

According to Danie Cronjé, the Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Incorporated, many of the proposed changes are similar to the requirements in provincial Liquor Acts which are applicable to applications for liquor licences for retail outlets such as liquor stores, supermarkets, restaurants etc.

Companies who apply for the right to manufacture or distribute liquor will only be allowed to lodge these applications on the 1st Friday of the month. To date these applications could be lodged at any time.

Applicants previously only had to provide the address of the premises where the liquor will be stored distributed from.

Applicants will now have to provide detailed floor plans of the building as well as a zoning certificate from their municipality.

According to Cronjé this will probably make it impossible for persons who conduct a distribution business from an administrative office in a residential area to obtain a distribution licence as had been possible to date.

As with the provincial Liquor Act in Gauteng applicants for licences as manufacturers or distributors will now have to provide the National Liquor Authority with Police clearances in respect of the persons having an interest in the business as well as a tax clearance for the business. As it takes several weeks if not months to obtain some of these documents applications will be delayed even more than is currently the situation.

The National Liquor Authority will also have the right to request a report on the application by the SAPS Liquor Officer in the area. According to Cronje this is also expected to delay the finalisation of applications.

The proposed amendments also include the introduction of trading times.

The current Liquor Act does not determine trading times for distribution of liquor but in terms of the proposal distributors will only be allowed to distribute liquor between 08h00 to 20H00 from Monday to Saturday.

According to Cronjé it is difficult to understand why trading times have been proposed as the distribution of liquor to a liquor licence holder does not involve the public or the consumption of liquor.