There have been three recent developments regarding liquor legislation. These are the new Liquor Regulations for the Western Cape, the approval of the Western Cape alcohol-related harms reduction policy white paper and the National Liquor Authority’s seminar on transformation in the liquor industry.
Western Cape Liquor Regulations
The following changes in the Liquor Regulations are relevant to the wine industry.
- Event licenses
Anyone can now apply for an event licence and licenses are not only issued for certain kinds of events. Applications now have to be submitted at least 40 days before the event. Late submissions of applications are possible but then penalties are payable.
At a recent information session officials confirmed the importance of recordkeeping as required by the Act.
Records will be checked as part of the Province’s initiative to reduce the sale of liquor to outlets which resell without liquor licenses.
It is an offence for a licence holder to sell liquor to a person when one knows or ought to know that he will resell it without a licence.
- Increase in fees
Annual renewal fees and application fees, including for event licenses have been increased.
- Higher fines
As part of the Province’s drive to reduce the harms caused by alcohol abuse, the fines which may be imposed have been increased from R20 000 to R100 000 per contravention.
On 4 September, the Western Cape Government published its alcohol-related harms reduction policy white paper. It will form the basis for significant amendments to the Western Cape Act.
Many of the proposals which were published for comment were retained despite criticism on their practicality.
These include the following:
- The Western Cape Government will lobby for a national ban on alcohol advertising visible to persons under the age of 18. The policy in fact states that a ban on advertising is preferred.
- The Western Cape will support national levies on marketing spending on liquor products to pay for alcohol related harms counter messaging.
- Trading hours will be reduced to reduce the availability of liquor.
- National government will be lobbied to increase the price of liquor, by increased excise tax or the introduction of minimum unit pricing.
- A provincial tax on liquor is also considered.
- Grocers’ wine licenses held by supermarkets will be phased out where there is an off-consumption liquor outlet such as a liquor store within 50 meters of the grocer’s store.