MEC Fritz welcomes lifting of alcohol ban; Residents should drink responsibly
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during last night’s address that the prohibition on the sale of alcohol has been lifted. At the same time, Minister Fritz calls on residents to drink responsibly, should they wish to do so.
It was announced that:
- Alcohol sales from retail outlets will be permitted from Monday-Thursday 10am – 6pm;
- On-site consumption of alcohol will be permitted at licensed outlets from 10am – 10pm; and
- Wine farms and micro-breweries may sell alcohol for off-site consumption during their normal operating hours.
Minister Fritz said, “The ban placed severe economic pressure on the industry as a whole and will undoubtedly impact on job creation. It is no easy task managing the lives and livelihoods of residents in the Western Cape. As we move out of our second peak, we need to make sure we prevent major job losses in our economy by supporting this industry and allowing it to trade – albeit with a higher level of responsibility taken by distributors and sellers of alcohol to the public.”
Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) update
Minister Fritz added, “At the same time, we must ensure that there are measures in place against alcohol related harms. I wish to commend the WCLA on their consistent efforts to ensure that licensed liquor holders comply with the relevant health and safety protocols, preventing associated harms.”
Between 27 March 2020 and 29 January 2021, the WCLA has conducted 356 investigations into liquor license holders who have contravened the National Disaster Risk Management Act’s Regulations and the Western Cape Liquor Act.
Of the 356 matters, 96 section 71 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT) case roll, of which:
- 55 licences were suspended;
- 23 applications were dismissed;
- 17 applications were referred to the Prosecutor; and
- 1 application was withdrawn.
Of the 55 licences that were suspended, 54 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which:
- 1 licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;
- 50 suspensions were lifted by the LLT;
- 1 suspension was confirmed;
- 2 suspensions were lifted, 1 in the High Court and 1 as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceeding; and
- 1 return hearing is pending.
In total, 78 COVID-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:
- 3 licences were revoked;
- 5 applications dismissed;
- In 4 matters the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;
- 7 licences were suspended;
- 1 licence was cancelled;
- 1 application was referred to the Prosecutor; and
- 26 matters are currently pending.
Minister Fritz said, “In 30 matters, fines to the amount of R2.86 million were issued, of which an amount of R1.6 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period. This is a stern warning to the sector that acts of irresponsible trade and violations of licence conditions will not be tolerated. We all need to work together to ensure we can keep this sector open, by preventing abuse of alcohol.”