C&A Friedlander Attorneys

With the promulgation of amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act (“the Act”) on 1 July 2017 and the publication of new regulations on 31 May 2017, the preparation of liquor licence applications has become considerably more demanding. There are a number of additional documents which must be lodged and in many respects the onus for compliance has been shifted to the applicant. From the agendas of the tribunal it appears that more applications have been refused in recent months than in the past. Bearing in mind that it can take between 4 and 8 months before an application is considered the refusal of an application can have serious consequences for the applicant’s business.

The new regulations replace the 2011 regulations almost entirely. Amendments to the Act and regulations include the following:

  1. The maximum administrative penalty for non-compliance that the Liquor Licencing Tribunal may issue has been increased from R 20 000 to R 100 000;
  2. Liquor Inspectors may now issue notices of non-compliance to illegal outlets whereas in the past they could only do so in respect of licenced outlets. Previously, liquor inspectors only dealt with licence holders and the South African Police Services were left to deal with illegal outlets. The new regulations now require liquor inspectors to inspect any premises where a reasonable suspicion exists that liquor is being stored, conveyed or sold illegally.
  3. Inspectors will issue administrative notices which will then be passed on to the South African Police Service for further action.

A number of additional documents must be lodged and additional information is required from the applicant. So for example applicants are required to lodge an affidavit by the applicant and the nominated manager, confirming that neither is disqualified from holding a liquor licence in terms of Section 35 of the Act. Proof of lodgement of applications with the Designated Liquor Officer must also now be lodged with the liquor authority. The law and procedure in respect of temporary and events licences have been substantially changed.

The amendment of regulation 37, dealing with the documents to be displayed and kept on the premises, now requires a licensee to display the-

  • Licence;
  • Notice of renewal in respect of the relevant year;
  • Proof of payment of the renewal fee for the relevant year or two-year period;
  • If applicable, a copy of the completed Form 21B by means of which the licensee has applied to subscribe to the biannual cycle of renewing their licence. (See hereunder).

The name of the premises, type of licence, trading hours and licence number must be displayed on the “front door or window” of the premises in characters not less than 5cm high. The size of the sign is not stated.

It should be noted that the proof of payment referred to in (c) above, must now contain the reference number of the licence assigned by the Liquor Authority.

A licensee may now choose to pay the renewal fee either annually of biannually. The amendment to regulation 30 determines that a licensee who intends to subscribe to a biannual renewal cycle must lodge a notice in the form of Form 21B with the liquor authority by no later than 30 November of the year in which the Authority has issued the annual renewal notice. Liquor Licence holders must ensure that they renew their liquor licences, annually or biannually, on or before 31 December.  If a renewal notice is not received, the onus is still on the licensee to pay the prescribed renewal fee on or before 31 December.  Failure to renew your licence by 31 December, will lead to the lapsing of the licence and penalty charges for late payments will become applicable. There is a procedure to deal with late payments and condonation but this is best avoided by paying on time. There has been a substantial increase in all fees of the liquor authority especially renewal fees.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)