Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz says that his department plans to publish the Western Cape Liquor Act amendment bill for public comment in the next few months.
Fritz said that a legislative review task team has considered a number of amendments to the existing bill, and that these amendments will now be processed in a formal submission to the provincial cabinet.
“We know that there is a significant relationship between alcohol abuse and violent crime such as murder. As demonstrated by the quarterly crime statistics, we saw an increase in murders during the periods where the alcohol ban was lifted in the last quarter of 2020,” he said.
“However, in our efforts to balance lives and livelihoods, we cannot support the blanket bans placed on the sale of alcohol as these are damaging to the economy. Instead, we must continue with smart interventions such as the amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act.”
In his February state of the province address, premier Alan Winde announced that the Western Cape plans to introduce further regulations around the sale of alcohol in an effort to curb abuse.
“These amendments will directly and indirectly reduce alcohol harms, as well improve the efficiency of the Western Cape Liquor Authority,” he said.
“In addressing this major problem in our communities, I am also committed to working with the industry and consumers to find new and innovative solutions to reduce alcohol-related harms in the Western Cape,” he said.
Some of the changes which have previously been mooted under the amended act include:
- Ensuring that a record of all liquor sales is kept by outlets and prescribe the measure of detail required;
- Permanently confiscating seized liquor following the payment of an admission of guilt fine;
- Obliging licence holders to take reasonable measures to determine that a client is of legal drinking age;
- Inserting an objective test within the Act to determine whether alcohol has been sold to an unlicensed outlet/individual;
- Aligning the Act with the Liquor Products Act to ensure a uniform definition of “Illicit liquor”;
- Providing for a public participation process to alter existing licences.