Public vote gets Sunday booze back for Gauteng
Inspired by Cape Town’s u-turn on the Liquor Act by-law prohibiting sales of alcohol on Sundays, it appears as if Gauteng has avoided such difficulties by actually listening to the people of the province.
We reported a fortnight ago on the draft regulations in Gauteng covering the trading hours for all sales of alcohol – whether in a restaurant, supermarket, bottle store, bar or sports club – and external to all these proposed regulations was the dictat “No trading in liquor on Sunday”, which means that every outlet would have to abide by this ruling.
Unsurprisingly, this caused a lot of consternation when this was made public and according to Gauteng Economic Development Department spokesperson Phindile Kunene, they received 122 comments on these regulations, the overwhelming majority of which were against it. That being so, they intend to be “guided by the will of the people” and will be compiling a report to this effect.
Guided by the will of the people
Gauteng is keen to point out that they were not influenced by any of the events in Cape Town but rather by the needs and wishes of their own consumers, but according to wine writer Angela Lloyd, the Western Province is also now being guided by the people and is looking into how the ‘no more than 150 litres of alcohol’ regulation should be applied to wine collectors, as opposed to the illegal shebeens it was intended to inhibit. It seems possible that more changes are on the way.
Which is great news for retailers, restaurateurs, wine collectors and the vast numbers of people who enjoy eating out on a Sunday with their families and friends.
However, in the midst of this general celebration, it is worth remembering that the Gauteng proposals still contain a clause making it compulsary to have a BEE element to your business if you want to apply for a liquor licence, all wine retailers in Cape Town are still having to stop sales by 6pm if not earlier and the vast majority of retailers still can’t sell on Sunday.
Most people on the same erf as a petrol station appear to have applied for a ‘stay of execution’ in good time, but it remains to be seen whether the Liquor Board will allow them to retain their licences after this initial period. Any celebrations now may well prove to be premature….