News24

NCape may relax pub rules for SWC

2010-04-14 22:20

Bloemfontein - World Cup visitors to the Northern Cape might be able to buy alcohol until 02:00 in the interests of a "relaxed social atmosphere", if the province's economic development MEC gets his way.

"It is my intention to create circumstances conducive to a relaxed social atmosphere during the World Cup," economic development and tourism MEC John Block said in a statement on Wednesday.

He was considering amending the province's new Liquor Act to allow drinks to be sold until 02:00 in bars, restaurants, taverns and hotels.

The amendment, gazetted on April 7, came seven days after the province's new Liquor Act came into force, restricting the sale of liquor until midnight.

The department said the MEC had the power to amend the new provincial Liquor Act, if he was convinced it was in the public's interest during a special event.

"The Northern Cape will be hosting the team of Uruguay and I have therefore, in accordance with powers derived from the new Liquor Act, declared the period from 12 June 2010 until 11 July 2010 as a period during which trading hours for all on-consumption liquor outlets will be relaxed completely," he said in the statement.

The amendment would be introduced to the Northern Cape legislature urgently.

Alcohol-fuelled rapes

The announcement followed reports of tavern owners in Kimberley vowing to snub the new provincial Liquor Act, which prevents them from selling liquor after midnight.

Provincial authorities were of the opinion the new act would help curb escalating rates of alcohol-fuelled rapes and murders in the Northern Cape.

The provincial Liquor Traders Association however said it would force some of them to close shop. The association said business started to peak from 23:00, and if asked to close at midnight it would deal a serious blow to their businesses.

The new act prevents any shebeen, tavern, liquor store or outlet from operating beyond midnight in the province.