Liquor traders will be relieved that the new Gauteng Liquor Act, which replaces the Liquor Act No2 of 2003, will continue to allow trading on Sundays – but the new law will tighten requirements for the granting of licences and will compel traders to sell food if their patrons drink on the premises.
The new law was enacted by former Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane on April 7.
But the promulgation of the act has been delayed because regulations must first be approved. The regulations were drafted by the provincial department of economic development, under which the Gauteng Liquor Board falls.
The regulations will, among other things, set trading hours, application fees and fines.
Instead of applying to one of six local licensing committees, the new act requires applications to go straight to the liquor administration unit of the department. The unit then checks if the application complies with the regulations.
Funeka Njobe, the department’s chief director of legal advisory services, said that, under the new act, owners would pay fees according to the size of their business.
New categories include licences for function venues, water-borne vessels and special events.
Taverns and pubs have been merged into a single category.
Applications to the board must now be accompanied by building plans of the premises at which the liquor would be sold.
Facilities at which drinks are consumed on the premises must serve meals and include menus with their applications.
Premises within 500m of a church or educational institution would receive “special attention”, the Gauteng Liquor Board has warned.
“The board will investigate if the presence of liquor trading will have a negative impact on them. After that it will then make a decision.”
If there are objections to the granting of a licence, hearings will be held before disputes can be referred to the appeals board. A court review would be the businessman’s last resort.
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