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Progress made in amending Liquor Act

The Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz said he welcomes the progress made by his department on the proposed amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act.

“During the lockdown, my department monitored the number of homicides, which demonstrated that at the beginning of the lockdown the murder rate had been halved,” he said. “However, as we moved into Alert Levels 4 and 3, the murder figures increased, but then again slightly decreased as the ban on alcohol and the curfew was reinstituted.”

Among the key proposed amendments are:.Altering the Western Cape Liquor Authority’s (WLCA) liquor licence fees. . Permanently confiscating seized liquor following payment of an admission of guilt fine. Inserting an objective test to determine whether alcohol has been sold to an unlicensed outlet/individual. Obliging licence holders to take reasonable measures to determine that a client is of legal drinking age. Aligning with the Liquor Products Act, for a uniform definition of “Illicit liquor”. Providing for a public participation process to alter existing licences. Expanding section 24 committee powers to hear enforcement matters. Expanding the capacity and availability of the Appeal Tribunal/Authority. Enabling the Minister of Community Safety to prescribe additional and relevant information to be considered by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal or the Presiding Officer. Ensuring a detailed record of all liquor sales is kept by outlets . Limiting the delivery of more than the prescribed limit by inserting a statutory “written consent of the Presiding Officer.”

Fritz said: “At the same time we aim to work more closely with unlicensed outlets and individuals to ensure they become licensed and ARHs are mitigated.

“As per the legislative process the proposed amendments will be put forward to the provincial cabinet who will scrutinise and debate its contents.

“Afterwards, it will be prepared by legal services and published in the Provincial Gazette for public input for a period of 21 days. The Bill will then be referred to the Provincial Parliament for debating and finalisation.”

Fritz noted between 27 March and 28 August, the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) said 40 licences were suspended, 10 applications were dismissed and no applications were pending.

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