I have seen a notice in our local newspaper of a new liquor store to open in our neighbourhood.
There are already two liquor outlets close to us. This store will be very close to my church and the school my grandson attends. Our church is also of the view that there are too many liquor outlets in our area.
Another liquor store is completely unnecessary. How can we stop this store from opening?
A liquor licence allows an individual or business to manufacture or distribute liquor.
Various liquor licences can be applied for, with the type of licence granted determining the right to make, distribute or sell liquor.
A few national regulatory bodies or authorities are responsible for the issuing of liquor licences. A full list can be found at https://www.thedti.gov.za/business_regulation/nla_regulatory_bodies.jsp.
It is also the relevant authority’s responsibility to ensure that the outlets selling liquor are operating in compliance with the law, and that no individual sells liquor without a valid licence.
In order to obtain the necessary licence to open a new liquor store, the owner will have to meet the requirements of the relevant authority within the jurisdiction in which the store will be operated.
To do so, the owner will have to indicate details such as the location of the store and the store structure, as well as provide a written motivation of why he should receive a licence.
He will typically also have to indicate whether or not any schools or places of worship are in close proximity to the intended store location.
The relevant liquor authority will also have to receive reports from a liquor inspector, the local municipality and the South African Police Service.
These reports will assist the liquor authority in deciding whether or not the granting of the liquor licence is in public interest.
On the other hand, the public is also afforded the opportunity to oppose the awarding of a liquor licence by submitting objections to the issuing of a licence.
Members of the community, companies and institutions are allowed to object to the granting of the licence.
An objection can be made in the form of an affidavit, a statement, a letter or even an email.
It should provide the full particulars of the person or entity objecting, and state the reasons for the objection. It should also be filed within the required time frames contained in the notice published in the Provincial Gazette and local newspaper with the relevant liquor authority.
The liquor authority will then take all objections into account when considering whether or not to grant the licence.
In your situation, it does appear that there may be grounds to object to the liquor licence being granted.
It may be advisable to prepare objections from the community to submit within the required time frames.
It may even be prudent to consult with a liquor law specialist to help you formulate your objections for submission to the liquor authority.
– Neo Madlala, senior associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys