KZN's tough new liquor laws leave supermarkets 'dry'

2017-03-15 22:50
Supermarket wine sales. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Supermarket wine sales. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban - Popping out to a local supermarket to stock up on wine is a thing of the past for KwaZulu-Natal residents, as dozens of stores have been forced to "go dry".

The reason for this is a new law in the province, effective from the end of February, aimed at curbing underage drinking.

The amendment to the Grocer's Wine Licence provisions were enacted in 2014. Those affected were given three years to install separate enclosed areas and pay points for wine sales.

However, there has been a last-minute rush and some stores and have found they don't have the space or the right configurations. And it is coming at a cost.

Woolworths spokesperson Susie Squire said they had complied with the legislation, where required.

"Our operations and sales have been impacted, as more than half of our affected stores could not accommodate the additional legislative requirements. At those we now do not sell wine at all, which will have an upstream knock-on effect which we are working through."

Inspections

She said only 10 of their stores in the province could now sell wine.

A Pick n Pay spokesperson confirmed that all its stores now complied, but did not provide details.

News24 is aware that the popular Musgrave Centre Pick n Pay now has the required enclosed area. An Eshowe store has completely removed all wine from its shelves.

Shoprite and Spar did not respond to questions on the matter.

Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala cautioned that inspections would be carried out soon. In terms of the legislation, stores must now make fresh applications to sell wine.

This involved submissions of business licences, a sketch plan of the demarcated areas, landlord consent, and a R1 500 fee. Municipal consent may also be required.

In a further crackdown, the provincial government is seeking to ban the sale of alcohol from premises within a certain distance from schools and places of worship. This has been subject to legal challenges, especially from existing licence holders.

Read more on:    pick n pay  |  woolworths  |  durban  |  alcohol

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