MEC Strachan clarifies Liquor Act
Following media reports about problems regarding the implementation of the Western Cape Liquor Act, and a meeting with senior management of the SAPS, Provincial MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Garth Strachan, said:
"I appeal to those who wish to use the implementation of the Act for narrow political gain and mischief-making to adopt a more sober approach.
"All complex new legislation faces a multiplicity of challenges from stakeholders, some so much so that it ends up in the Constitutional Court.
"The Western Cape Liquor Act is a very good piece of legislation, which has the full support of the SAPS. It is not uncommon to implement legislation incrementally and in stages. The 2008 Act is complicated legislation that is also heavily contested, including by strong vested interests in the industry.
"The Western Cape Provincial Government remains committed to dealing with the scourge of liquor abuse and is working with all role-players to ensure that the legislation is implemented in a manner that will benefit the objectives of the legislation, namely to curb the effects of abuse and create a regulated liquor industry.
"There is no such structure as the Liquor Control Board, as claimed in a headline story of a daily newspaper. The journalist concerned did not contact the Liquor Board, which does exist, for comment or clarity on the issue. Neither has the paper been in touch with the SAPS, as claimed. I have asked the newspaper concerned to publish a retraction of this inaccuracy.
"The regulations to the Western Cape Liquor Act, which are a prerequisite to full implementation, are being finalised in conjunction with the SAPS and will be published soon."
Background notes to editors:
Certain problems have been encountered in respect of enforcement of Section 76 (d) and (e) as well as 80. The impact of these challenges is insignificant when viewed against the background of the positive effects that the limited implementation the Act has had. By all accounts the impact of the limited implementation of the new Act to curb alcohol abuse in communities has been considerable.
The SAPS have confirmed that Clauses 76 (e) and (d) have not yet been implemented because they await the promulgation of clauses 1 and 32. It is factually incorrect to state that all of the 3 clauses thus far promulgated have not been implemented. The SAPS continue to use the Liquor Act of 1989 (Section 154(a) which prohibits any person selling alcohol who is not in possession of a license.
The process of negotiation with the National Minister of Trade and Industry to agree on a promulgation date for the provincial Act has been concluded and it is likely that the Act will be promulgated by mid-year and in order to give the responsible department ample opportunity to communicate with the industry and law enforcement agencies ahead of the implementation.
MEC Gareth Strachan
Tel: 021 483 3531
Fax: 021 483 3892