Gauteng liquor licences to be reviewed

Gauteng liquor licences to be reviewed

2011-05-31 14:27

Johannesburg - All liquor licences and permits in Gauteng will be reviewed, economic development MEC Qedani Mahlangu said on Tuesday.

"I believe South Africans deserve better legislation," she told a media briefing on the draft liquor policy.

"(It will) improve compliance through enhanced enforcement of the liquor legislative and regulatory."

There are 30 000 liquor licences in Gauteng.

Mahlangu said her department would also look at discouraging the trading of alcohol on Sundays and religious holidays. This would address the problem of unlimited access to and consumption of liquor.

"I'm talking about places like Pick n Pay and Spar or any takeaway place," she said.

"However, this will not affect restaurants, pubs, taverns and hotels and other outlets."

Mahlangu said Gauteng was the only province which sold alcohol on a Sunday.

Shebeen permits which were due to expire in June 2010 would be reviewed and communities living near shebeens would be consulted.

She said there would be rule prohibiting any shebeen or tavern from operating within 500 metres of a school or place of worship.

"It has been established that a link between irresponsible liquor trade and crime exists. This leads to a number of social ills," Mahlangu said.

"Coupled with this is the social pest of unlimited trading hours which interferes with communities' rights especially in relation to loud music, pollution of neighbourhoods close to taverns and shebeens and general disruption of order within the surroundings of these outlets."

The selling of alcohol to school children and minors was also a major concern, she said.

The process of converting liquor licences granted under the National Liquor Act of 1989 to the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003 was underway.

Mahlangu said there needed to be a transformation in the liquor industry.

It was not right that licences were given to big businesses such as Pick n Pay and Spar, while small black-owned businesses' applications for a liquor licence or permit were declined. She said there needed to be focus on township enterprise development.

The provincial department of economic development had received a number of complaints about the ethical conduct of some traders, consultants and department officials.

An investigation had been launched and decisions would be made once the allegations "have been tested", Mahlangu said.

"Alcohol is destroying our society... we need to save young people from the abuse of alcohol," she said.