Covid-19 non-compliance: 27 liquor vendors in Western Cape fined, 51 licences suspended

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  • Khayelitsha is reportedly experiencing excess trauma-related admissions due to alcohol consumption.
  • Various operations have taken place in the province between 27 March and 18 December. 
  • Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz says it is the responsibility of licence holders or managers to ensure patrons are adhering to Covid-19 protocols. 

Investigations into liquor vendors reportedly contravening the Western Cape Liquor Act (WCLA) and the Disaster Management Act have resulted in the suspension of 51 licences, four being revoked and one cancelled.

According to the provincial government, 305 investigations were conducted between 27 March and 18 December. 

READ | Alcohol industry calls for lifting of 'devastating' booze ban

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said 113 enforcement operations were conducted over the past week, particularly in Khayelitsha.

The MEC said the operations were to mitigate the harm caused by alcohol, especially because communities like Khayelitsha were experiencing a surge in trauma admissions related to alcohol consumption. 

"In 27 matters, fines to the amount of R2.564 million were issued, of which an amount of R1.382 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period," Fritz said. 

Of the 51 suspended licences, 49 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which one licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration; 46 were lifted by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT); and two suspensions were lifted - one in the high court and one as part of internal appeal tribunal proceedings. 

Two return hearings were pending. 

In total, 76 Covid-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:

  • Three licences were revoked;
  • Five applications dismissed;
  • In four matters, the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;
  • Six licences were suspended;
  • One licence was cancelled;
  • One application was referred to the prosecutor; and
  • 29 matters are currently pending.
  • Operations between 14 to 20 December resulted in 113 inspections, 12 non-compliant premises were identified, and there were two requests for suspension.

    Fritz said with Khayelitsha experiencing excess trauma-related cases caused by alcohol consumption, and Covid-19 cases spiking, the work of WCLA was important because they were leaving no stone unturned and dealing with transgressors. 

    The MEC has commended vendors who are complying with regulations. 

    "It is the responsibility of the licence holder or manager of the licenced establishment to ensure the safety of patrons in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and in accordance with the regulations.

    "Many premises have done this successfully by implementing measures, such as putting up signage regarding Covid-19 safety protocols, training staff to actively enforce these protocols, taking temperatures of patrons upon entry, preventing crowds and congestion by hiring security guards, operating within the stipulated trading hours and requesting assistance from SAPS and other law enforcement agencies where necessary," he said. 

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