Cape Town-130403- New Laws prohibit the sale of alcohol from any store or tavern after 6pm, without the correct liscence, although it is still easily obtainable. Reporter: Yolisa, Photo: Ross Jansen

Cape Town -

Contravene liquor laws and we’ll close your business – that’s the warning from Finance and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde.

The Western Cape Liquor Authority, which functions under Winde’s department, on Thursday shut down a tavern in Elsies River for contravening several trading licence rules.

The licence holder of Tootsies Inn was granted an on-site consumption liquor licence last June.

A few months later, the Liquor Authority was informed that Tootsies had contravened the terms of its licence:

* It was selling liquor to take away, and to visibly drunk patrons.

* The licence-holder had made structural amendments to the establishment without approval from the Liquor Authority.

* Liquor was being stored in contravention of the approved plan of the establishment.

In addition, there had been a shooting on the premises.

The matter was investigated, and on Thursday the Liquor Licensing Tribunal ruled that the licence holder was “not a fit and proper person to hold a liquor licence and that it is not in the interests of the public that the holder be allowed to trade in liquor”.

Police delivered a notice to the licence holder on Thursday night to stop trading immediately.

Winde said: “As part of our strategy to curb liquor abuse in our communities, the Western Cape government is determined to root out unruly traders. We take tip-offs from the public very seriously because licence holders who contravene our laws ruin people’s lives.

“This is a warning to irresponsible traders: if you contravene the rules, we will track you down and shut your doors. Our duty is to protect the interests of law-abiding citizens by ridding our liquor industry of bad elements.”

Meanwhile, city authorities started enforcing the new liquor by-law this week.

Safety and security mayco member JP Smith said 67 off-site consumption establishments were visited in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, and four received warnings for not complying with the new law.

Operations would continue over the weekend and next week.

“Through operations like this, the city seeks to educate liquor licence holders about the stipulations of the by-law to ensure that they operate legally.

“There is a focus on issuing warnings and fines before taking more drastic action, so that establishments are given an opportunity to rectify any faults.”

Smith said extra staff would be pulled in to assist during operations.

The city has also asked Winde to make amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act, which will allow the city’s metro police to enforce the Act and help shut down illegal operations.

Winde’s spokeswoman Tammy Evans said the proposed amendments were being considered.

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Cape Argus