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Cape Town - A city by-law banning liquor sales on Sundays and after 6pm on weekdays from April 1 will fuel the illegal trade in liquor, the Western Cape Shebeen Association warns.
“Cutting hours is the biggest mistake. It will open the market and fuel unlicensed trading because consumers will simply go and find an unlicensed trader after 6pm. People will not drink less,” president Mauritz Rossouw said.
The association represents 18 000 unlicensed shebeens and 1 000 licensed outlets.
Rossouw said not all municipalities in the province had cut trading hours. In the Overberg hours were unchanged. Cape Town was one of 22 municipalities with a liquor trading by-law, he said.
In terms of the Liquor Trading Days and Hours by-law, liquor stores will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays or after 6pm from Monday to Saturday, while clubs, hotels and casinos, among others, can extend their cut-off time to sell liquor from 2am to 4am on condition they apply for an exemption. Traders in liquor for off-premises consumption also have to stop trading at 6pm.
For on-premises consumption in residential areas liquor can be sold from 11am to 11pm, and at sport or community clubs from 11am until midnight. For special events, trading times will be part of conditions in the event’s permit. A liquor licence holder will be allowed to sell sparkling wine seven days a week from 8am till 11am as part of a meal.
The mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, Garreth Bloor, has said the by-law followed extensive consultation about liquor trading hours in the city. Wineries were the only exception when it came to selling liquor for off-premises consumption on a Sunday, he has said.
Taki Amira, chairman of the city’s Good Hope subcouncil, said only six city centre clubs had applied for exemption.
“I’m surprised there are so few. I urge them (clubs) to make applications. The main clubs in the city have not applied,” he said.