Cape Towns’ New Not-So-Lekker Liquor Law
A by-law approved by the City of Cape Town means that at the stroke of midnight on December 31, liquor trading and serving in Cape Town will be restricted. According to the new by-law, liquor can only be sold in business centres run from 11:00 to 02:00, while liquor in residential areas may only be sold from 11:00 to 23:00.
Councillor Taki Amira, chairperson of the Liquor Policy Task Team says that “This means that bars and clubs in business areas will have to close by 02:00 on January 1 2011. Those watering holes in or close to residential areas, which may currently enjoy late trading hours, will have to abide by the new legislation and close by 23:00,” he added.
The new law has been seen as an attempt to clampdown on establishments that sell liquor illegally or without licenses and also an attempt to lessen liquor abuse, hooliganism, noise pollution and public disturbances. The by-law allows wineries within the city limits, such as Groot Constantia to sell take-away wines on a Sunday and has set up a formal procedure for members of the public to report irresponsible liquor traders, information which could lead to the restriction or cancellation of licences.
The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa’s Cape branch (Fedhasa Cape) said it was unpleasantly surprised by the by-law, which it called, “draconian, verkrampte, restrictive and unacceptable.”
Fedhasa Cape said that the by-law had the potential of damaging Cape Town’s “visitor friendly” reputation. Chairperson of Fedhasa Cape, Dirk Elzinga, said the by-law would create “total confusion” among licence holders, domestic consumers and more importantly national and international visitors to Cape Town – given that liquor trading hours in and immediately surrounding the Cape Metro area would be required to serve liquor at varying times depending on one’s geographical location.
“A further, no doubt unintended, consequence of the by-law could be that on consumption, consumers will be tempted to pre-order significant quantities of liquor immediately prior to the applicable closure of liquor services and in addition, a significant number of consumers may consider moving their custom to establishments legally permitted to continue liquor service after 23:00,” he added. Restaurant owners, especially those working in or owning establishments in residential areas, are also concerned that the by-law will have an effect on their businesses.
What is still not entirely clear is whether the restaurants and clubs must actually physically close at the new times as Cllr Amira suggests, or whether the by-law simply means that they must stop serving liquor. Hopefully some clarity on this issue will be given before the new year.
Info From News24