My last article about the new City of Cape Town liquor legislation covered the reality that many of us face becoming ‘liquor criminals’ in the eyes of the law. But things could be much much worse.
Danie Cronje, Director of Liquor Law Services at Cluver Markotter Inc, has been following developments nationwide on behalf of his many wine industry clients and here are some of the potential pitfalls which he has come across.
*(Some of them have been removed, some are already in place and some of them are still under consideration at the time of writing).
• It could be illegal to be drunk in public. Not drunk and disorderly, just drunk. So anyone on a night out ran the risk of being arrested and thrown into jail if a policeman thought you were over the limit – how does that sound? This one was thankfully removed from the Western Cape Act being it could be implemented.
• Protecting children from the dangers of alcohol is clearly a right and proper thing to do, but at one point, KZN was going to ban all children from being in supermarket aisles containing alcohol. So you would have to leave your baby or child with the cashier whilst you picked up a couple of bottles for the weekend. This is still on the cards according to Danie.
• Gauteng wants every liquor licence application to have a BEE element in it as well. Making small companies jump through hoops in order to get a licence – this is still on the table too.
• In Western Cape, you must have an original copy of your liquor licence, your latest renewal and your appointment of manager on-site at all times. This is being checked currently on wine farms and restaurants.
• If you’re a drinker in George, you in for some problems. If the by-law gets passed, no liquor sales in restaurants after 8pm on a Sunday. And if Herold Wines and The Goose Wines fall under that municipality, no sales of wine on Sundays and public holidays at all.
• In the Western Cape, it is illegal to give alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, even if it is in the privacy of your own home. You can be 17 years and 11 months and if your dad gives you a beer at a braai, he can be prosecuted. This is in place now.
• KZN supermarkets may be required to have a separate till for liquor sales – again, this is still potentially an issue.
• No sales of alcohol whatsoever – whether in a restaurant, bar, wine shop or supermarket – on Sundays in Gauteng. Yes – that’s right. That is the current proposed legislation from the province. They published Draft Regulations on 25th January this year containing a table of hours for on and off sales each day of the week. Underneath the table and therefore, according to Danie, something which should be seen as a general dictat, is written “No trading in liquor on Sunday.” And that is that.
Have your say
Most of this isn’t set in stone – if you want to find out how to object to the Draft Bill in Gauteng for example, click here and maybe your representations can change the final bill. One thing that does appear to be a problem is that Gauteng seems to operate its liquor laws on a provincial level and not on a municipal level, so perhaps that is a legal challenge looking to happen at some time in the near future.
Policing the new laws
The point of all this is that there is widespread confusion and misunderstanding. Whether it is police who are confused by business/residential zoning and extensions to licences, tourists who won’t understand where one municipality starts and another one ends, schools uncertain what rules apply to them, homebrewers who will surely come under the Acts at some point or another or just drinkers who enjoy a glass of wine – we are all going to have to tread very gently and carefully until all these matters are finally resolved and that looks like taking some time.
The only province which seems to be taking a slightly different approach to the matter is the Eastern Cape. Although trading hours fall under the jurisdiction of municipalities, the province has issued a Draft Provincial By-law legislating times and days liquor can be sold. Technically, it isn’t valid but wouldn’t it be better and easier for everyone if we implemented this in the same way as it happens in the USA? There, all states have their own liquor controls and people clearly understand that crossing the state line changes how the law is applied. Perhaps it’s time for the municipalities to accept some direction on this matter from the province for the good/ease/convenience of us all.
For more information and insights follow @CathyMarston and @Danie_Cronje on Twitter.
*For more detailed and expert advice, contact Danie Cronje at Cluver Markotter Inc on 021 808 5642 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Address for objections for Gauteng
If you wish to comment on the Draft Bill in Gauteng, you can send your written comments:
c/o Acting Committee Co-ordinator
Gauteng Provincial Legislature
Private Bag X52