Liquor stakeholders discuss delay with licence applications

Monday, 18 February, 2013
Danie Cronje
The Western Cape Liquor Authority held a meeting with stakeholders in the Western Cape Liquor industry in Stellenbosch on 13 February 2013.
According to Danie Cronje,  the Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Incorporated  the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current functioning of the Authority and proposed changes to the Western Cape Liquor Act.

The meeting was  attended by the Western Cape Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Tourism, Alan Winde.

The CEO of the Liquor Authority admitted that there is a huge backlog of applications for liquor licenses which were lodged prior to the commencement of the Western Cape Liquor Act on the 1st of April 2012.

He was not able to say exactly how many applications were outstanding.

A representative from South African Breweries mentioned that they were aware of at least 2900 applications which were lodged in respect of home based businesses that were still outstanding.

Minister Winde indicated that he would look into the possibility of appointing more staff to assist with the backlog.

The Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Tribunal, which  considers applications for new licenses, indicated that the Tribunal will address the backlog by spending one week per month considering applications in respect of premises in the City of Cape Town, and one week considering applications lodged in respect of areas outside the City.  It will then spend one week considering applications which were lodged after the 1st of April 2012 under the Western Cape Liquor Act.

He gave no indication of how long it will take to get rid of the back-log.

Stakeholders pointed out that new owners taking over licensed businesses were prevented from selling liquor by the SAPS because the interim consents to carry on business which were supposed to be issued by the Chairman of the Tribunal were not being issued.

This consent is required to carry on selling liquor while the transfer of the liquor license is in progress.

The problems with obtaining temporary liquor licenses for special events timeously were also discussed.

Currently many of these applications are only approved on a  Friday for events taking place that same evening or over the weekend.

In respect of proposed amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act and its registration, the process was explained to stakeholders.

It currently appears as if the amendments will only become low  towards the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.
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