City of Cape Town publishes new liquor trading by-law for public comment.

Tuesday, 8 October, 2013
Danie Cronje
The City of Cape Town has published a new draft by-law on liquor trading days and hours for public comment.
If approved it will replace the existing bylaw which regulates the days and hours during which liquor may be sold by businesses in the Cape Town municipality.

The public will have an opportunity to comment until the 31st of October.

The holders of off-consumption liquor licences such as liquor stores and supermarkets will welcome an amendment which will allow them to apply to the City for permission to also sell liquor on Sunday and to extend existing trading hours from 18h00 till 20h00.

An extension until 20h00 will place supermarkets and liquor stores in the same position as they were before the Western Cape Liquor Act commenced on the  12th of April 2012.

Apart from a few supermarkets and liquor stores to which special licences were granted such outlets were not entitled to sell liquor on Sunday.

Since the commencement of the Western Cape Liquor Act a number of other municipalities have made provision for Sunday trading by liquor stores and supermarkets in their own bylaws.

Wineries will be disappointed that their right to Sunday Trading included in the current bylaw has been removed and these businesses shall have to apply for Sunday trading.

The bylaw also introduces drastic powers for City officials to stop businesses from trading with liquor for seven days merely by delivering a notice to the licencee.

According to Danie Cronje, the Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Incorporated the proposed powers go much further than those in the Western Cape Liquor Act.  The Act only provides for the closing of licenced premises by inspectors from the Liquor Board or Police Officers of a certain rank and only when public disturbance, disorder or public violence occurred or threatened.   The closure is also limited to the remainder of the trading hours for that day.

In order to suspend a licence for a longer period the Act requires an application to the Liquor Licencing Tribunal with prior notice of the application to the licencee.

Its current form the City’s bylaw has no similar requirements.

According to Cronje the bylaw also makes provision for the City to “cause the temporary closure of the premises” without providing any details regarding the requirements for such a decision nor the process involved.”