Cape Town - With the liquor industry still recovering from the effects of lockdown and with massive increases in food prices and fuel, local shebeen owners have described as disingenuous the increase in the already high fees of liquor licences.
The provincial government has published a draft amendment to the Western Cape Liquor Regulations in the Provincial Gazette, including proposed amendments to liquor licensing fees with public comment open until July 4.
The proposed new fee tariffs, applicable to all liquor licence holders in the province, include increases in applications for event liquor licences, an extension of trading hours and fines, and annual licence fees.
These tariff increases are part of the provincial government’s proposed amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act and will come into effect on July 22.
Western Cape Liquor Traders Organisation (WCLTO) chairperson Allan Samuels said the fee increases were a ploy by the government to put black and coloured business owners out of business.
“These exorbitant and ever-increasing fees will have business owners who can’t afford them out of business – something we have been saying is what the government wants.
“When the due dates pass and other owners fail to pay, a penalty will be added on top of the amount they couldn’t afford for renewal which will further drive them towards closure.”
Samuels said they were not consulted about fee increases or decisions affecting them.
“In Cape Town shebeen owners in informal settlements operate without a licence and make huge profits. We have been fighting with the government and the City to implement the permits to bring these people into a regulated space so that they also contribute to the economy.
“We are already sitting with competition from the big chain stores, which have entered our township, and are paying the same fees as us but are making billions a day, which is not fair.
The Western Cape Liquor Authority said the proposed increases would mean less public funds were spent on the regulation of liquor.