WCLA Update: Minister Fritz condemns lootings of bottle stores
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the 105 investigations conducted by the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) and the 36 liquor licenses suspended between 27 March 2020 and 31 July 2020.
Minister Fritz has welcomed the efforts to reduce alcohol related harms and further condemned the looting of liquor stores in recent weeks.
Of the 105 investigations conducted, 46 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal’s (LLT) case roll of which:
- 36 licences were suspended;
- 8 applications were dismissed; and
- 2 applications are pending.
Minister Fritz said, “In recent weeks we have seen a number of lootings of liquor stores, amidst violent protest action. I reiterate such looting and violent protest action which includes destruction of property and theft is illegal and punishable by law. I call on anyone with information of these acts to come forward and report such to SAPS.”
Minister Fritz added, “As a provincial government, we recognise that many liquor license holders including restaurants and bars have been placed under enormous strain. We are sympathetic and understand that many jobs and businesses are on the line due to the ban on the sale of alcohol. I support the Premier’s call for a smart approach on the sale of alcohol which also reduces alcohol related harms.”
Minister Fritz continued, “The licenses were suspended in terms of section 71 of the Western Cape Liquor Act (the Act) which means that the WCLA may suspend a license on an interim and urgent basis where there is an imminent threat to the health, wellbeing or safety of the public. Moving forward, those liquor license holders who remain non-compliant in terms of section 20 of the Act will be investigated and may eligible for a fine of up to R115 000 or have their license revoked.”
Of the 36 licences that were suspended, 33 section 71(4) return hearings as well as further section 20 considerations on 13 of these matters took place of which:
- 1 licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration, while 30 suspensions were lifted by the LLT; and
- 2 suspensions were lifted, one in the Western Cape High Court and one as part of an internal Appeal LLT’s proceedings. Three return hearings are pending.
Minister Fritz said, “I urge members of the public who are aware of any alcohol related contraventions to immediately report such to SAPS. Any persons wanting to lodge a complaint or report a contravention of the Regulations can also contact the WCLA on 021 204 9805.”
Please see English audio clip here: https://clyp.it/t20vya20
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959