WC Liquor Authority investigates 65, suspends 32 licenses
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the 65 investigations conducted by the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA). Between 23 March and 5 June 2020, the WCLA have conducted 65 investigations into liquor license holders who allegedly failed to adhere to the lockdown regulations.
Of the total 65 investigations conducted:
- 3 are under investigation by the WCLA;
- 8 have been referred to SAPS;
- 4 reports are being drafted for the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT);
- 1 is being referred the LLT; and
- 32 licenses have been suspended.
Minister Fritz said, “As of Monday 1 June, the sale of alcohol was again permitted. It was stated that licensed premises may sell liquor from Monday to Thursday, excluding Friday to Sunday and public holidays. Liquor may only be sold between 9:00 – 17:00 and may not be consumed on premises.”
Minister Fritz added, “The Western Cape has seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related trauma cases since the un-banning of alcohol. This is extremely concerning as the healthcare system is already under pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Minister Fritz continued, “I want to be very clear: the abuse of alcohol takes beds away from people who need it during this difficult time. This could be a family member or loved one who needs this bed. That is why every single one of us has a role to play to make a difference. So, please, please drink responsibly. If this doesn’t happen, we will explore alternative steps to ensure that this happens.”
Minister Fritz said, “Through the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA), my Department will continue to enforce the relevant regulations, with a particular focus on taverns. We know that in our most vulnerable communities, taverns, particularly those which operate unlicensed, play a significant role in perpetuating alcohol related harms.”
Minister Fritz continued, “The WCLA will continue to work closely with SAPS to report unlicensed premises and ensure the necessary action is taken against them which includes paying an admission of guilt fine and the removal of their liquor stock. With regards to licensed taverns, the WCLA will continue to conduct its investigations into licensed premises which do not comply with the regulations and may issue a fine of up to R115 000 or revoke the license of those who do not comply, subject to an investigation.”
Since 1 June 2020, inspectors were widely deployed to monitor premises in areas where non-compliance was most prevalent or where non-compliance is most likely to occur. Minister Fritz said, “licensed outlets have generally been very compliant, and some licensees undertook to close their businesses where there was overcrowding. In Nyanga, a licensee painted white spots on the pavement outside the premises where customers were required to queue to maintain social distancing. Many outlets complied with the prescribed health protocols in terms of the use of thermometers and hand sanitizers.”
Minister Fritz added, “Three premises were found to be trading contrary to suspension orders which were issued during the Alert Level 4 period. Further charges against them will be brought before the LLT to consider the possible revocation of such licenses. It was anticipated that unlicensed outlets would use the opportunity to stock up on liquor and licenced premises were monitored in terms of the volumes sold during single transactions. One premises was found selling 48 crates of beer (324 litres) to an individual who allegedly owns an unlicensed outlet. Two similar cases are in the process of being referred to the LLT for consideration.”
“I urge members of the public who are aware of the illegal sale of alcohol to immediately report such to SAPS. Any persons wanting to lodge a complaint or report a contravention of the Regulations can contact the WCLA on 021 204 9805,” said Minister Fritz.
For further clarity on the conditions of lockdown, please see the following FAQs: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/frequently-asked-questions
Please see English audio clip here: https://clyp.it/jh3hsacw
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 064 121 7959