Gauteng police shut down 15 illegal and non-compliant liquor outlets across the province at the weekend.
Gauteng police shut down 15 illegal and non-compliant liquor outlets across the province at the weekend.
Between 27 March and the end of last week, the Western Cape Liquor Authority had investigated 196 incidents of liquor vendors reportedly contravening the National Disaster Management Act’s regulations and the Western Cape Liquor Act.
CAPE TOWN – Cape Town restaurants will need to wait until the end of the month to challenge COVID-19 lockdown regulations in court.
The matter set down for Tuesday but has been postponed for two weeks.
The applicants want all eateries with a valid liquor licence to be allowed to serve alcohol for on-site consumption.
After the initial alcohol ban was lifted, it’s estimated about half the more than 34,000 trauma admissions to public hospitals across the country per week were linked to alcohol consumption.
However, the applicants argue there’s no evidence that consumption at licenced restaurants contributes to the overburdening of trauma units.
Owner at Chef’s Warehouse Liam Tomlin said: “Most of our guests will enjoy a bottle of wine or about three or four during a dining period. So, I really don’t believe the problems that the government are saying are related to our industry at all.”
The minister argues that allowing the sale of specific types of liquor in identified industries would not provide the effective relief the healthcare system needs during a surge in COVID-19 cases.
She adds that even though the application refers specifically to lifting the liquor ban in licensed restaurants, taverns, bars, shebeens and hotels will also be allowed to sell alcohol in unlimited quantities, as many of those establishments also serve a “meal”.Back to top
The city’s metro police will be inspecting taverns across the metro together with liquor board representatives.
The aim is to assess compliance with liquor laws while investigating possible links to crime in the areas, metro police chief Yolande Faro said.
Faro was speaking at a safety and security portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday.
She was presenting the status of ongoing metro police operations.
Since the beginning of the year, the city has had several tavern inspections, with non-compliant taverns issued with fines starting at about R2,500.
The taverns were either operating without a liquor licence or operating outside the designated trading hours.
Previous tavern inspections in January saw the metro police visit taverns in New Brighton and Kwazakhele, including ZZZ Tavern, KK Tavern, Chief Ngqoko’s Place, Spokido’s Tavern and Hilo’s Tavern – and all were found to be compliant in terms of the Liquor Act.
But others, including Solomzi Gaju Tavern, Gonga Lazola Tavern and Mannie Vuwo Tavern, were issued with compliance notices for trading outside the stipulated hours.
Faro said the aim was to expose the liquor board to the type of problems officials sometimes came across.
“Because the liquor board gives licences, there are certain criteria that they look at.
“They also look at where the tavern is situated.
“Having them with us will help ensure people are in line with what is stipulated in their licence, because those things must be adhered to.”
Faro said the liquor board would then take the information from its inspections and consider it when taverns tried to renew their licence.
She said the partnership would allow for sharing of information and give the municipality access to the list of taverns across the metro.
Originally published at HeraldLive
Is your shebeen within the law?
The original definition of shebeen was an illicit bar or club where alcohol was sold without a licence. The word in fact derives from the Irish ‘síbín’ and is not an African word at all, but in South Africa we have definitely made shebeens our own. Nowadays they are mostly owned by men rather than the ‘shebeen queens’ of the past, and many are legitimate bars fully complying with licensing law. But there are many more that are operating outside of the law.
In fact, research suggests that as many as three quarters of shebeens do not hold the correct liquor licence. According to the Western Cape Liquor Act of 2008, anyone wishing to sell, manufacture or distribute liquor is required by law to have a liquor licence. Operating without a licence is a serious offence, and could result in a heavy fine, closure of the premises, or even a criminal record. And a previous offence of selling without a licence can jeopardise the chance of a licence being granted in future.
Types of Liquor Licence
Liquor licences fall into two main categories:
• On Consumption Liquor Licence – requiring all liquor sold on the premises to be consumed on site and not taken off the premises. In other words, no take-aways
• Off Consumption Liquor Licence – requiring liquor sold on the premises to be removed before consumption
There are exceptions within these broad categories: for example a retail wine shop may host a tasting of wines in-store; and there may be circumstances in which take-aways can be purchased at an establishment with an On Consumption licence. But for general purposes a shebeen owner must hold an On Consumption Liquor Licence from the Western Cape Licensing Authority (WCLA). It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that the business operates within the rules of the licence. So if you have an On Consumption licence and your customer wants to buy unopened bottles of beer to take home, you are breaking the law if you make the sale.
Applying for a Liquor Licence
If you would like to apply for a liquor licence you must:
• Be in good standing with SARS
• Have no criminal record
• Be solvent
• Be over 18 years of age
In addition to verifying your personal standing you must include the following documentation in your application:
• A detailed floor plan of the premises, showing the dimensions of each room, where liquor will be stored on the premises, as well as the streets and places where there is external access
◦ A site plan showing an outline of every business within the vicinity of your premises
◦ Details of any other licensed premises on the property
◦ A description of the property, including colour pictures
◦ A copy of your identity document
Applying for a liquor licence is time-consuming and interpreting complex legislation is a specialist skill. But failing to understand the law is no defence if you break it! Placing your liquor licence in the hands of a lawyer experienced in licensing law will ensure your application is correctly lodged and is not rejected on a technicality. You can rest assured you will secure the right licence for your business and you will have the confidence of knowing that you are operating legally.
Don’t risk it
Running an illegal shebeen or bar is not worth the risk. Money saved on licensing costs is a false economy. A fine could cost you many times the legal fees you will spend to be properly licensed. For help and advice in applying for or renewing your liquor licence, speak to Simon on 087 550 2740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ve done your research, found the perfect location, hired a great chef and are ready to open – or are you? A new restaurant takes a lot of work to get off the ground and one of the most important elements is the correct licences and permits.
Without the proper permissions from your local district, municipality or province, your restaurant could fall down before you even get started. The penalties under South African law for not having the right restaurant licences and certificates can range anywhere from a fine to imprisonment of the owner. The rules are so strict because an establishment that sells perishable food can have a major impact on the health and safety of the community in which it operates.
The licences and permits you need to apply for
• Business licence – Restaurants, or in fact any business that sells perishable foods, require a business or trading licence under the Business Act of 1991 before they open. This also applies to bars, cafes, take away places and catering companies.
• Liquor licence – In order to sell any alcohol on your premises, you must apply for a liquor licence. It’s advisable to do this well in advance of your planned opening as approval can take some time to go through.
• Health and safety certificate – Hygiene is of vital importance when selling food and there are strict rules governing health and safety in South Africa. Once your restaurant is set up, you must get it inspected in order to get a certificate of acceptability.
• Music licences – If you wish to play music in your restaurant, you may need to apply to both the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and the Southern African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA). These are two separate bodies that can supply you with the two different licences that are required for playing music publicly.
It’s important to note that the permits for a restaurant can change between different districts or municipalities. This is where the help of a licenced attorney with experience in the restaurant industry can come in handy.
What if I don’t get my liquor licence in time?
Plenty of restaurants open up without their liquor licence in place yet. All this means is that you can’t sell alcohol on the premises until the licence gets approved. Patrons can come and enjoy a meal at your restaurant and bring their own drinks if they want. The only concern with this is what happens if your liquor licence doesn’t get approved.
Call Simon today to get assistance on applying for your liquor licence and other permits for your new restaurant.Back to top
Government has proposed tough new legislation in an effort to tackle the problem of alcohol abuse and its associated social ills in South Africa. But is it using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Will it penalise responsible drinkers while not materially reducing misuse?
Let’s look first at the provisions of the proposed amendment to the Liquor Act, 59 of 2003 (“the Act”).
Review of the national minimum legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years:
There are a number of significant crack-downs in the bill, but probably the most controversial is the proposal to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. This could have serious implications for university students who take on restaurant and bar work to help pay their fees, if they are not allowed to handle alcohol at all. Is it reasonable to withdraw a privilege from individuals who already enjoy it, especially if they are legally old enough to vote and to marry? When the US introduced a national drinking age of 21 in 1984 (it was previously the prerogative of the states to determine drinking age, which varied widely across all 50), the transition was gradual (and fairer), i.e. ‘those born after a certain date could not be served’, so that those who had already reached the age of 18 did not have a legal right withdrawn. If this amendment goes through, South Africa would join a very exclusive club: only four developed countries in the world have a nationwide drinking age of over 18 – USA (21), South Korea (19), Iceland (20) and Japan (20).
New premises wishing to secure a liquor licence must be located at least 500 metres away from schools, places of worship, recreation facilities, rehabilitation or retreat centres, residential areas and public institutions. Existing licence-holders already within a 500m radius of these venues will see stricter conditions for sales imposed on them.
This includes premises attached to petrol service stations or premises near public transport. The rationale behind this is valid, when one looks at our road traffic accident (RTA) record and the proportion of accidents involving alcohol. But will ‘public transport’ include airports? ACSA revenue would be hard hit if so. Foreigners travelling to and from South Africa on business are likely to be unimpressed with the inability to have a responsible drink in the lounge before a flight. And what about sales of duty-free alcohol, where the liquor will only be consumed once it has left the country?
Television channels will only be allowed to advertise alcohol at night, from 22:00-06:00, after the 10pm ‘watershed’ when it is assumed children are in bed. Content designed to appeal to youth in alcohol advertising will be prohibited. This will include the use of sport stars, models, etc. Branding of delivery trucks carrying alcohol and premises will be banned.
B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice as they relate to licensing conditions will be more strictly enforced and monitored. Noncompliance will result in the suspension or revocation of the licence.
The administrative burden and cost of liquor licence applications will be shifted from the Liquor Authority, municipalities and the police to applicants. Therefore, whereas under current policy the public participation process is conducted by these entities, in future the applicant will carry the responsibility for contacting the municipality, neighbours, community-based organisations etc., and for the cost of advertisements in the newspapers.
Police clearance certificates will be required for shareholders and directors of applicants. This provision will be invisible to the public at large but may have serious financial consequences for potential licensees.
These are the major provisions of the Act, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Other proposed changes include:
Some of these amendments may find widespread favour; few people will dispute the importance of enforcing the B-BEEE codes more stringently across all sectors. Ensuring a trained, responsible owner or manager is on site at a licensed premise at all times is uncontroversial. Other aspects of the Act appear more draconian and have given rise to considerable unrest within the industry. So let’s look at the intention behind these changes.
South Africa has a checkered relationship with alcohol. Our wine producers are becoming important players in the global wine industry, and we are starting to produce some excellent craft beers and artisan gins for a discerning customer base. Yet alcohol is also the most widely abused substance in South Africa and the most harmful drug at a population level. It is the third most signficant contributor to death and disability after sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and interpersonal violence, both of which in turn are influenced by alcohol consumption. In 2007, 46% of cases of mortality due to non-natural causes had blood alcohol levels greater than or equal to 0.05g/100ml, the legal limit for driving.
In addition to the personal traumas and tragedies caused by excessive alcohol consumption, alcohol costs the public purse dearly, approximately R37.9 billion annually, including the cost of health care, crime and social welfare, alcohol treatment and prevention, and road traffic accidents.
Roughly a quarter to a third of all hospital admissions can be directly or indirectly attributed to alcohol. Conditions associated with alcohol abuse include cirrhosis of the liver; cancers of the tongue, mouth, throat, larynx, oesophagus and liver; central nervous system impairments; nutritional disorders; cardiovascular abnormalities; depression and increased susceptibility to diseases such as pneumonia. Maternal alcohol consumption can cause miscarriage, low birth weight or foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), the last of which is particularly problematic in the Western Cape. According to the Foundation for Alcohol-Related Research (FARR), incidence of FAS varies widely across the country and certain communities experience exceptionally high rates, so it is not meaningful to give a national prevalence rate for South Africa. However, it has been estimated that more than two million South Africans are affected by FAS and a further five million may have the lesser characteristics of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Concerns about increased alcohol consumption amongst youth feature prominently in the Act, with the proposed national drinking age of 21. Abuse of alcohol at a young age increases the risk of chronic addiction as an adult and other alcohol-related problems in later life. Research suggests that exposing the adolescent brain to alcohol may impair neurological development, leading to irresponsible decision-making, memory lapses, or slowed response time (potentially lethal when combined with driving a car). So the Act attempts to delay as much as possible the initiation of liquor consumption by youth. Whether it will succeed is a different matter. Young people already drink before the current legal age of 18. As important in curbing abuse is the availability of other forms of recreation and a sense of purpose and ambition amongst youth, as alcohol and other substance abuse often accompanies a sense of hopelessness and aimlessness.
However, studies on the effects of the legal age of purchase have generally found that when alcohol is less available, less convenient to purchase, or less accessible, consumption and related problems are lower.
There is no doubt that the Act has been developed with the best of intentions. Something must be done to curb the scourge of alcohol abuse that is ravaging our country while maintaining a safe environment for the majority of citizens who buy, sell and enjoy alcohol responsibly.
Research reveals mixed findings on the effectiveness of some of the proposed interventions, such as advertisement regulations. However, as indicated above, policies that directly target the availability of alcohol supply and a raised drinking age limit have been proven to be effective at a limited cost to the state. It is also generally agreed that on-premise interventions (that penalise servers) are inadequate unless coupled with interventions that go beyond off-site consumers.
So…the question is: are the potential benefits of the restrictions justifiable in light of their negative commercial impact? Inevitably commerce, tourism and agriculture are industries that will be affected and responsible drinkers will face certain curtailments that were never aimed at them in the first place.
Initial feedback suggests that many lower income communities welcome the restrictions and the increased age limit for purchasing alcohol, as residents of these communities know only too well the impact alcohol is having on the youth and on their neighbourhoods in general.
Our final concern, as always with legislative amendments, is that an amendment act often completely fails to address issues with the current legislation in force, i.e. non-compliance with existing laws. There are roughly 150 000 shebeens in the country, with one fifth of them in Gauteng; it is estimated that two out of three shebeens in that province are illegal. Before we introduce tougher new legislation, we need to be sure we can enforce it.
If you are a licence-holder and are concerned about the impact of the Act on your business, contact Simon on 087 550 2740 or email email@example.com.
The public has until Friday 28th October to comment on the National Liquor Policy and until 30th November to comment on the Western Cape proposals. For comments on the National Liquor Policy, contact Danie Cronje on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to comment on the Western Cape Green Paper, the email address is email@example.com
If you would like to register a comment on these proposals, you can also contact:
Department of Trade and Industry, Private Bag x84, 0001