New liquor law to 'ruin' Cape's image

2010-09-08 21:23
Cape Town – The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa's Cape Town branch (Fedhasa Cape) said it was unpleasantly surprised by the city's new Liquor Trading Days and Hours by-law, set to come in effect on January 1 2011. The law was approved by the municipality on July 28 2010.

The law states that liquor trading hours in business centres will run from 11:00 to 02:00 the following morning.

Trading hours in residential areas will be from 11:00 to 23:00.

A conviction from breaking the new law would carry a fine not exceeding R30 000, a prison term of up to three years, or both.

"It is Fedhasa Cape's understanding that the city is looking to curtail liquor abuse, expose and close unlicensed liquor premises, reduce the potential and opportunity for crime, reduce noise pollution and or curtail public disturbance in certain establishments in certain areas.

Decisive action

"Although Fedhasa Cape fully understands the city's concern and support the need for decisive action, the organisation does not believe that curtailing liquor trading hours, in the prescribed manner, will in any way address or resolve these problems," the association said in a statement.

They continue to say that the city has put "restrictive" trading conditions applicable to the entire licensed hospitality industry as a result of a minority of known and identifiable defaulting establishments located within the metro.

Fedhasa Cape chairperson Dirk Elzinga told News24 that hotels, bars and restaurants around residential areas would mostly be affected by the new by-law.

Elzinga said the hospitality industry will feel the economic affects, which in turn would impact negatively on the image of Cape Town as a tourist destination.

Serious impact

"It will have a serious impact on places like Long Street where bars will have to cut down on staff," he said. He added that a lot of establishments along Long Street make a lot of their income in the early hours of the morning.

However, he said: "We assume that they (municipality) want to control the illegal sale of alcohol in certain areas."

He said they hoped they could convince the municipality that this would be a rough law and hope it could be amended.

"We will use this period to interact with the city."

Generic opening time

Taki Amira, the chairperson of the City's Liquor Task Team refuted claims in statement released on Wednesday that the new by-law would put an end to popular champagne breakfast, hinder business and have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

"I would like to point out that the City used its prerogative in terms of the Constitution in 'Controlling undertakings selling liquor to the public', to draw up a by-law to address the unique issues prevalent to our society. We decided to use the Western Cape liquor amendment bill as a guideline in formulating the by-law."

She said the city used the generic opening time listed in the bill and applied restrictions to the duration of the trading time.

"It must be kept in mind that both the bill and the by-law are aimed at addressing one of the most serious issues in our society, namely the abuse of alcohol from an early age, which can lead to social ills such as drug abuse, domestic violence and drunken driving."

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