Liquor Authority suspends 10 licences, investigates 37 during lockdown
CAPE TOWN – A total of 10 liquor licenses have been suspended and five reports are being prepared for the Liquor Licensing Tribunal’s consideration after the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) conducted 37 investigations on matters of non-compliance with the National Disaster Regulations whereby liquor traders sold alcohol during the lockdown period.
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, on Friday, reiterated his warning that any liquor vendor operating during the lockdown would be eligible for a fine and may lose their licence, subject to an investigation.
As per section 71 (1) of the Western Cape Liquor Act: “The Liquor Licensing Tribunal may grant an interim order suspending a license upon application by an inspector or a designated liquor officer if there is an imminent threat to the health, wellbeing or safety of the public.”
Fritz said: “I have requested that the WCLA ensure that any outlet which contravenes the lockdown conditions be liable for a maximum fine of up to R115 610 or have their license revoked permanently, subject to investigation.
“It has further been requested that the WCLA join the PROVJOINTS committee and be included in every case where liquor was sold or an arrest was made to better track the original point of sale. I further welcome the resolution taken by PROVJOINTS on 25 March that no alcohol will be returned to any outlet after paying an admission of guilt fine.”
The Minister urged members of the public who were aware of the illegal sale of alcohol to immediately report such to SAPS.
The ban on alcohol and cigarettes has been a subject of lively debate since the announcement, however, there has continued to trade in these items in spite of the ban.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, said on Friday that they were under no illusion that for all of the arrests and confiscations, there are many others who have managed to lay their hands on these goods.
Smith said since the lockdown began, our Law Enforcement Department had made 1 326 arrests for contraventions of the Disaster Act. “During their operations, Law Enforcement staff have confiscated 1 421 units of alcohol, 1 245 packs of cigarettes and seven firearms and ammunition. Their Metro Police counterparts have made 549 arrests and confiscated 1 365 units of drugs, 534 units of alcohol and more than a million cigarettes (1 043 265).”
When addressing the nation on Thursday President Cyril Ramaphosa said the lockdown was the most effective form containing the Covid-19 coronavirus, adding that the country would go into a risk-adjusted strategy to open up the economy following the five-week national lockdown.
This approach includes an alert level approach which includes five levels. The country is on level five and from May 1 the alert drops to level four. While some of the restrictions that will be lifted include the sale of cigarettes, the sale of alcohol is still prohibited.