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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday passed the Liquor Licensing Amendment Bill, paving the way for the implementation of the KZN Liquor Licensing Act of 2010, which provides for the banning of the sale of liquor by outlets within a 500m radius of religious and learning institutions.
The amendments became necessary after the Minister of Trade and Industry raised concerns about some of the clauses in the act.
These included the definition of sports grounds to now exclude those situated within schools and religious institutions, thereby banning sale of liquor in these areas.
Another amendment had to deal with the regulation of the sale, supply and micro-manufacture of methylated spirits. In its original form, the act did not regulate this, and was found to be not in line with the National Liquor Act of 2003.
MEC for Economic Development Mike Mabuyakhulu said a count of how many liquor traders were situated within 500m of schools had been conducted, but those traders who had licences before the bill was promulgated would not necessarily be shut down.
He said there were two options on how these would be dealt with, the first being to amend their trading hours to ensure that no alcohol was sold by those outlets during school hours. Another would be to given them a period within which these business should be relocated.
“We will look at the circumstances of each case and take action on a case-by-case basis,” Mabuyakhulu said.
The bill also allows for the sale of liquor on Sundays, a move which has drawn wide criticism from some sectors.
Jo-Ann Downs of the African Christian Democratic Party said that this should be reviewed by the provincial executive council, as there was a correlation between extended liquor trading hours and social ills such as rape.
But Mabuyakhulu said there was no relation between trading hours and consuming liquor.
He said the provincial government had launched a campaign to teach young people about the dangers associated with the consumption of alcohol.