Western Cape Liquor Bill looms

Thursday, 9 February, 2006
Cluver Markotter Inc.
The Western Cape Liquor Bill has been published for public comment on Friday, the 3rd of February 2006.
The Liquor Act, 59 of 2003, which came into effect during August 2004 allows each province to promulgate its own provincial liquor act to regulate the micro-manufacture and the retail sale of liquor in that province. To date Gauteng and the Eastern Cape have promulgated provincial liquor acts. The Western Cape Liquor Bill has been published for public comment on Friday, the 3rd of February 2006. The Bill reduces the categories of licences to only 5. One of these is a licence for the micro-manufacture and sale of liquor. This licence will replace the producer’s licences and special licences (off-consumption) currently held by wine producers. It will allow the holder to manufacture up to 4 million litres of wine per year and to sell the wine to distributors, retail sellers and the public. The exemption contained in the Liquor Act, 27 of 1989 (the “old Act”) which allowed a producer who manufactured wine from his own grapes or grapes bought in to sell the wine without a licence to licence holders, will no longer be available. A producer who manufactures wine will therefore require a liquor licence even if he only sells to licence holders. Under the old Bill the only action which required a licence was the “sale” of liquor; under the Bill the “manufacturing” is also an action which requires a licence. Under the Bill the Liquor Board may require a prospective licence holder to undergo training before granting a liquor licence. This will also be applicable to the managers appointed for licensed premises. The Bill provides for the Liquor Board to appoint municipalities to act as agents of the Board to accept lodgement of applications and perform certain tasks associated therewith. Municipalities will also issue special events permits, which replace the current temporary licences. The Bill also provides for the municipalities to determine the hours of liquor sales by way of by-laws. In the absence of such by-laws the sale of liquor for consumption on the premises will take place from 08H00 – 04H00 and for consumption off the premises from 08H00 – 20H00. Liquor licences will no longer all be renewable at the end of a particular year but rather on the anniversary of the issue thereof. This would require the holders of licences to keep track of the date of renewal to avoid the licence lapsing. The Bill will prohibit any person from giving liquor to a child under the age of 18 unless it is a negligible amount during the course of a religious ceremony. The definition of “table wine”, which may be sold under a grocer’s wine licence in a supermarket, has also been amended by removing the limit of 14% alcohol and allowing the sale of “wine” as defined in the Liquor Products Act. According to Danie Cronjé, director of the Liquor Law Department of Cluver Markotter Attorneys, the Bill requires some amendments to make provision for the intricacies of the business of wine producers. The Act currently does not make provision for the use of rented cellar space as it requires the premises where the manufacture of wine takes place to be licensed. This will obviously be a problem where a producer uses different cellars each year. Interested parties may submit comments on the Bill to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament until 31 March 2006. Contact Danie Cronjé at: Director / Direkteur Commercial Services Liquor Law Services Cluver Markotter Incorporated Reg. 2000/002905/21 t +27[0]21 808-5642 / e dlc@cm.law.za / i www.cm.law.za