Western Cape Liquor Act: proposed changes

Wednesday, 30 April, 2014
Danie Cronje
Proposed amendments to Western Cape Liquor Act have been published for public comment. The public will have until 23 May to comment on the proposed changes.

The most important changes are the following:

Liquor Licencing Tribunal:

Substitute members may be appointed for the Liquor Licencing Tribunal which considers applications for liquor licences.

This will prevent the lack of a quorum meetings.

The Liquor Licencing Tribunal will also be able to delegate some functions to committees.

This will enable it to deal with certain applications quicker.

Petrol stations:

The prohibition against granting a liquor licence on the same erf as a petrol station will be deleted.

The vicinity of a petrol station will now only be one of the factors taken into account when applications for new liquor licences are considered.

Event liquor licences:

It will now be possible to apply for an event liquor licence for any function at which liquor will be sold. Previously this was limited to specific kinds of functions eg. concerts, exhibitions and sporting events.

Now one would be able to obtain a licence to sell liquor by way of a cash bar at a private function or wedding which was not previously possible.

150 litre limit

The provision which required a member of the public to have permission from the Liquor Board to possess more than 150 litres of liquor will be scrapped.

However, in terms of the amendments the fact that a person who is not a “bona fide collector of wine” has more liquor than is “reasonably required for himself, his family or his guests” means that he can be charged with the illegal sale of liquor because the possession of such a quantity of liquor will be considered prima facie proof of the sale thereof.

Powers of the Police:

The powers of the Police will be extended substantially.

These powers will also be extended to municipal police officers.

Police officers will now be entitled to close down businesses for an undetermined period of time for various reasons.

According to Danie Cronje, the Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Incorporated, it is a concern for liquor licence holders that such wide ranging powers will be granted to police officers without making provision for licence holders to oppose these orders quickly in a cost effective way.

The wide ranging in powers includes the right to search licenced premises without a warrant.

According to Cronje the amendments regarding the Liquor Licencing Tribunal, petrol stations and event licences will be welcomed but he expects opposition to the increase in powers granted to the Police and the fact that members of the public could be charged with the illegal sale of liquor based on the quantity of liquor possessed.