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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  23 Feb 2009

HOSPITALITY: City Meets Liquor Industry


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The City of Cape Town’s Liquor Policy Task Team says it has had a constructive meeting with liquor industry representatives on its draft by-law on Liquor Trading Days and Hours.

Members of the public have until Friday, 27 February, to comment on the draft.

“The hearings were, in the main, productive, in that we now have a clearer understanding of the requirements of the industry and we need to now balance these with the alcohol-related problems that afflict our citizens,” says Cllr Taki Amira, Chairperson of the City’s Liquor Policy Task Team.

“The proposed by-law is the only tool the City has at its disposal to address concerns raised by the public regarding excessive drinking and public drunkenness in residential areas.

“The industry’s main issues of contention were the definitions being used in the zoning of the establishments and the times apportioned to establishments conducting liquor-related business in residential areas.  Their main concern was the potential loss of turnover with subsequent loss of jobs. We emphasised that they should have   raised these concerns with the Provincial Government in 2007/08 and that, as we are operating within the hours laid down by the Liquor Act, there was nothing the City could do about it.

“The role played by the extent of the city - the fact that it stretches from Atlantis through to Simon`s Town to Gordon`s Bay and Somerset West to Durbanville and the devastating social consequences of alcohol abuse in many of these areas – were emphasised by the Liquor By-law Task Team.

“Representations were received from a group of licensed Mitchells Plain traders who complained about the cut-off time of 6pm for off-premises consumption. They reported that they did most of their business from 6 - 8pm which is the current cut-off time. When it was pointed out that this was the Act's cut off time as laid down by Province and that they should have raised these concerns with Province when the Act was out for comment - as they were now doing with the City - they alleged they were unaware of any public participation process relating to the Act.

“Complaints of police harassment were received from a group of illegal shebeen owners who wanted to know what steps they could take to trade legally. They were informed that the City was only interacting with licenced liquor outlets and licenced taverns.

“They were informed that the City is reassessing its structure plan review and I asked that areas be identified as nodes where business could be accepted. The shebeeners would then be able to trade in correctly zoned areas. They could then apply for the correct zoning for a licence - something that is not a City function. It was made clear that the City was not promising them land, but facilitating an opportunity for them to relocate their business to an area where they could trade legally.

“The City’s draft by-law is a direct consequence of, and flows from, the recent promulgation of the Western Cape Liquor Act, which governs the sale, supply and regulation of alcohol throughout the province.”

“The Western Cape Liquor Act, approved by Provincial Parliament on November 11 last year, contains generic hours of operation for licensed liquor establishments and also permits municipalities to regulate hours of operation within its jurisdiction. Where a municipality does not set its own hours by means of a by-law, the trading hours default to those stipulated by Province.

“The Provincial Liquor Act stipulates that the maximum and minimum operating hours for sale of liquor are between 09:00 and 18:00 for off-consumption premises, and between 11:00 and 02:00 for on-consumption premises any day of the week.

“The aim of Cape Town’s by-law is thus to regulate the hours and days of trading by licensed liquor establishments within the parameters prescribed by Province,” says Cllr Amira.

The City is proposing that the type of zoning linked to the business premises in terms of the City’s Zoning Regulations will be used to determine the different hours for the different premises.

“Public concerns about the scourge of alcohol abuse and the toll it exacts on our communities are concerns that have yet to be heeded. The City will work with all who share our distress about this,” Cllr Amira said.

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