Do we need a liquor licence for our fest?

Palesa Motau
Palesa Motau

QUESTION: Our school in Bloemfontein wants to host a beer fest as a fundraiser. We do not have a bar or liquor licence. One of our school parents owns a liquor store and can provide the alcohol for the event.

He said, however, that we need to get a special licence to sell alcohol at the event. If this is so, how must we go about getting such a licence?

ANSWER: Most people are not aware that they have to apply for a liquor licence for a special event where alcohol will be sold. But yes, to hold such a fundraiser will require that you obtain a special events liquor licence that grants you the right to sell alcohol at your event during the period for which the licence is valid.

According to the Free State Gambling and Liquor Act, you can only apply for a special events licence to sell alcohol at a once-off event if you have a pre-existing liquor licence.

This will require that the school either have an existing liquor licence or that it must piggy-back on the licence of another, such as the parent with the liquor store.

  • Applying for this licence requires the completion of an FSLA4 form by the applicant requesting the special licence. This form can be obtained from the offices of the Free State Liquor Board and must be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:A pre-existing liquor license (such as that of the school or parent with a liquor store).)A written explanation from the applicant regarding the event, explaining the reason for the licence (including informa-tion about the event such as the organiser, location, expected attendance, type of alcohol that will be sold, control measures to ensure alcohol is not taken off the premises, etc.
  • The more detail provided, the better.Proof of payment of the prescribed non-refundable application fee of R1 000 for the special events licence that must be paid with the application, as well as a daily fee of R250 for each day that the event will take place.)Should attendance exceed 2 500 people, there will also have to be police risk categorisation of the event. Likewise, as in your case where the event is being held at a school, the school governing body will have to provide a letter of permission for the event to include the selling of alcohol.

Once the Liquor Board has received the application, they will consider the granting of the licence. If there is no objection from the local municipality and community police, the application will generally be successful, in which case the Liquor Board will issue the applicant with a Form FSLA5 registration certificate, confirming the special events licence. In addition, the Liquor Board will notify the local municipality and police of the issued registration certificate.

There is no set period for the application process, but it is recommended that your application be submitted at least 14 days prior to the event so as to avoid any unnecessary delays that may arise during the application process.

It is always useful to obtain legal assistance to help ensure that the application is done correctly and submitted timeously with the necessary supporting information.

  • Palesa Motau, candidate attorney, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys
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