THE new Northern Cape Liquor Board (NCLB) was announced by the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism after being inducted by MEC Mac Jack.This comes after the last board’s term expired at the end of March 2016 and all vacancies, in compliance with section 7 (1) of the Northern Cape Liquor Act 2008 (Act No.2 of 2008), had to be filled.The appointment of the board follows the invitation by the department, whereby interested parties were invited to nominate persons to serve in the NCLB. According to the department, 12 nominations were received, resulting in the seven members appointed after thorough consultations and interviews.The newly appointed members are expected to serve a contract for six months, and thereafter on a month-to-month basis.According to Zandisile Luphahla from te ministry’s office, the time-frame is due to ongoing investigations expected to determine the possible amalgamation of the NCLB and the Northern Cape Gambling Board. “In the event of the two boards being amalgamated, Section 11 (4) of the Liquor Act allows him to disband the boards and appoint a new board which will serve a dual function, if he is convinced that it is in the best interest of the community or the public,” he explained.Andrew Sia, who possesses an LLB degree from the University of South Africa and holds a managerial position at the Kimberley Post Office, was appointed as board chairperson. His deputy is Sizwe Mbi, who is also serving as the deputy chairperson of the Correctional Supervision and parole board. Additional members are Helen Jack, Cindi-Lee Oliphant, Bernett Motlhamme, Andrew Rantho and Adv. Vincent Mayisela.“As an entity of the provincial government, this board is expected, not only to issue licences, but also to work with our communities to strengthen the hand in the fight against alcohol and substance abuse,” said Jack. “The rapid rise in the number of alcohol abuse cases is not a government fight alone. It becomes our fight as it impacts on all.” Jack said the posts had to be filled as a matter of urgency, as licences have to be issued or renewed in order to comply with the prescripts of this empowering legislation.Their functions can therefore not be sub-delegated to any person. Sia promised to hit the backlog in the liquor applications.The powers and functions of the NCLB: Advise on matters relating to liquor matters. Consider and determine applications for licenses. Make and enforce rules for the conduct of its proceedings, hearings and investigations. Exercise the powers, performs the functions and carry out the duties specified of the Act. Engage services of experts and persons engaged in the practice of any profession where it is deemed expedient. Exercise powers, perform functions and carry out the duties as determined by the MEC.