27 non-compliant liquor vendors issued R2.564 million in fines
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, notes that the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) has conducted 305 investigations into licensed liquor vendors reportedly contravening the Western Cape Liquor Act and the Disaster Management Act’s Regulations between 27 March and 18 December 2020. Of the 305 investigations conducted, 51 licenses were suspended, 4 licenses were revoked and 1 was cancelled.
Minister Fritz further welcomes the 113 enforcement operations conducted over the past week, particularly in Khayelitsha. “The inspections assist in mitigating alcohol related harms, particular as communities such as Khayelitsha are experiencing a surge in trauma admissions related to alcohol consumption,” said Minister Fritz.
Minister Fritz said, “In 27 matters fines to the amount of R2.564 million were issued, of which an amount of R1.382 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.”
Of these 305 matters, 88 section 71 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT) case roll, of which:
- 51 licences were suspended;
- 23 applications were dismissed;
- 11 applications were referred to the Prosecutor; and
- Three applications are pending
Of the 51 licences that were suspended, 49 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which:
- One licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;
- 46 suspensions were lifted by the LLT;
- Two suspensions were lifted, one in the High Court and one as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceeding; and
- Two return hearings are pending.
In total, 76 COVID-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:
- Three licences were revoked;
- Five applications dismissed;
- In four matters, the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;
- Six licences were suspended;
- One licence was cancelled;
- One application was referred to the Prosecutor; and
- 29 matters are currently pending.
Enforcement operations over the past week
During the of week of 14 -20 December, operations were conducted resulting in:
- 113 inspections;
- 12 non-compliant premises identified; and
- Two requests for suspension.
Breakdown per area:
- Khayelitsha - 18 premises visited, of which three were non-compliant;
- Mosselbay and Knysna - 26 premises monitored, of which one was non-compliant;
- Worcester – 13 premises visited; of which six were non-compliant premises; and
- Barrydale, Cape Agulhas and Struitsbaai Areas - 56 premises visited; of which two were non-compliant premises.
Minister Fritz said, “At present Khayelitsha Hospital is experiencing a surge in trauma related cases caused by alcohol consumption. At the same time, we are facing a COVID-19 resurgence and we must ensure that hospitals have enough capacity to respond to those with serious illness, while prevent alcohol-related trauma admissions. The work of the WCLA is therefore vital, and they are leaving no stone unturned to deal decisively with transgressors.”
Minister Fritz added, “I commend those liquor vendors who are continuing to comply with the Regulations and the Act. You are setting a standard for good business practice, making our communities safer and playing your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to do so during the festive period.”
Minister Fritz continued, “It is the responsibility of the license holder or manager of the licensed establishment to ensure the safety of patrons in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with the Regulations. Many premises have done this successfully by implementing measures such as putting up signage regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, training staff to actively enforce these protocols, taking temperatures of patrons upon entry, preventing crowds and congestion by hiring security guards, operating within the stipulated trading hours and requesting assistance from SAPS and other law enforcement agencies where necessary.”