Some say theyll probably throw in the towel and succumb to mixing booze with having a good time.

Johannesburg - Free water and condoms, no alcohol for drunks or under-18s, and proper records of that sale to the man who bought 26 litres of beer for a private party. These are in the liquor laws issued on the traditionally unlucky Friday 13, and which have raised hackles in one province.

On Friday, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies gazetted the National Liquor Norms and Standards. The new rules are effective immediately.

Davies said the rules applied nationally, to ensure consistency, and that “all manufacturers, distributors and retailers in all provinces operate within clear and coherent parameters”.

He said where there was conflict with provincial laws, the new national rules would apply.

But the Western Cape doesn’t agree. While MECs from the nine provinces signed acceptance of the norms and standards last year, the Western Cape’s MEC Alan Winde made his disapproval clear.

“Noted, but we do have provincial legislation that is within our legislative competency. I also am not in favour of the extra red-tape burden on legitimate businesses,” wrote Winde, by hand, on the final document, next to his signature.

The norms and standards list general provisions, make record-keeping mandatory and regulate business hours.

Licencees may not sell or serve alcohol to drunk people. A list is included to help spot those drunks: watch for customers who have “slurred speech… move in a swaying manner or have difficulty walking straight… become physically violent… become loud, boisterous and disorderly”.

The new rules for places with “on-consumption” licences (for on-site consumption, like restaurants, bars and shebeens) include:

* No guns or knives.

* No loitering outside.

* No littering outside.

* Taking “reasonable steps” to avoid disturbing the neighbours.

* Mandatory safety and evacuation measures.

* Management must ensure free-issue condoms “easily available in an easily accessible area” at all times.

* Free water, which includes tap water, must be easily available.

* There must be ablution facilities at no cost to patrons.

It’s against the law to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, or to buy alcohol on behalf of them.

If there’s doubt about a buyer’s age, the seller must ask to see ID.

“It is also an offence for a person under the age of 18 years to present false evidence of their age in order to access liquor or enter a liquor premises.

A person under the age of 18 years, accompanied by an adult, may be allowed access to the liquor-licensed restaurant but no alcohol beverage shall be served to such a minor,” say the rules.

Alcohol may not be sold to someone who refuses to provide proof of age when asked to do so by a seller.

Liquor distributors may not sell to unlicensed people or businesses. Businesses with “on-consumption” licences may not sell for take-away.

There are “set minimum standards of trading hours” in areas where municipal by-laws are not enforced.

These include: 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all manufacturers; seven days a week for distributors; 6pm to 6am seven days a week for night clubs in business areas, with a small adjustment of 6pm to midnight on Sundays for nightclubs in residential areas and establishments with “on-consumption” licences in residential areas to trade Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 9pm and on Sundays 10am to 5pm.

Distributors must keep written or electronic records of all sales.

Businesses with “off-consumption” licences (such as bottle stores) must keep records of all sales of more than 25 litres to any unlicensed person, which includes the buyer’s name and address, kind and quantity of alcohol bought, the price and the reason for the purchase. These records must be kept for five years.

Failure to obey the new rules could lead to suspension or termination of liquor licences.

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The Star