Tag Archives: Danie Cronje

Controversial Liquor Trading By-Law still on ice, intimidated by legal threat!

Yesterday the controversial Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill was to have been fully gazetted, and be enforceable, but this has been held back, due to threatened legal action.

The Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law has attracted the wrath of the members of the newly-formed Club, Bar and Restaurant Association of the Western Cape, who contributed money to a legal fund to fight the By-Law by means of an interdict, reports the Cape Times.  The association is looking to get 100 members on board, to have a large enough legal resource of about R1 million to “put these guys to bed”, said Shaan Nordien of the Chrome Club, and has invited restaurants and hotels to join them in their fight.  The first step will be to apply for an interdict from the court, whereafter the association will challenge the constitutionality of the By-Law, says the association’s legal advisor Zeeshan Nordien.  An interesting development, demonstrating the seriousness of the association members, is the appointment of specialist liquor lawyer Danie Cronje of Cluver Markotter, with Jan Heunis as the advocate, reports the Cape Times.  They have sent a letter with their grievances to the City of Cape Town, which it has decided to study first before going ahead with gazetting the By-Law.  A protest march has not been excluded.  

The Association is claiming that up to 150000 jobs could be lost due to the potential loss of business caused by the new Liquor Trading By-law, reports The Times

A potential new change to the By-Law could be a “cooling off period” for drinkers, which would allow establishments such as pubs, bars and restaurants selling alcohol to allow their patrons to stay on at the establishment, serving them coffee, but disallowing the sale of alcohol, after 2h00, so that the drinkers are in a fitter state to drive home, reports the Cape Argus.   JP Smith, the City of Cape Town Councillor and Mayco member for Safety and Security, said:  “This would mean that patrons’ liquor consumption stops some time before they leave the establishment – and that would be good”.   Smith has warned the rebelling club and bar owners that the new By-Law will be implemented across the board, and accused them of ‘profiteering off liquor abuse”, the newspaper reports.   “We have always known that people who profiteer off the sale of liquor will not want to give that up.  But we will sit it out, because of how important this is.   Those that protest about the new trading hours are not the ones paying the hospitals, or the ambulances, or the emergency services.  They’re not the ones having to pick up the pieces that result from alcohol abuse.  They’re looking at their profits”, he added.

Smith said that the City would target the establishments receiving the most complaints in terms of noise level and fighting.   The By-Law will rely on customer complaints for its implementation to be effective.

POSTSCRIPT 1/7: The Cape Times has reported that the Liquor by-law has been reviewed by a ‘constitutional expert, following the outcry from the hospitality industry prior to its introduction earlier this year.  The review will lead to as yet undisclosed changes to the bylaw.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Wine marketing will be hit by Liquor Act

Wine marketing will not be the same again if the planned provisions in the proposed amendment to the Western Cape Liquor Act and Regulations are introduced.   However, some changes are positive.

Wine.co.za reported about the implications the “stern regulations” for wine estates in South Africa, as well as for persons selling wine, or just collecting it.

The proposed regulations give municipalities a greater say in wine marketing, with wine licence applications costing R 1 000 for the application alone, R 2 000 for the granting of a wine licence, and R 4 000 per annum for the renewal fee.

The new Act, according to Danie Cronje, of Cluver Markotter Incorporated, and a speaker at the recent South African Wine Tourism Conference, demands that wine estates must have a licence to produce wine – previously they needed it to sell wines.    The new Act only exempts garagistes who make wine for themselves and do not plan to resell it, from the licence.   Producers who use other producers’ wine cellars will also have to apply for a licence, as will wine estates who sell their stock to existing licence holders, such as hotels, restaurants and liquor stores, currently being exempt from a licence requirement.  

The article refers to the Act allowing wine estates to now charge for winetastings, but this has been done for some time now.   The winetasting times are subject to the  municipal regulations.  So, for example, it is proposed that liquor stores, wine shops and supermarkets be allowed to open from 9h00 – 18h00, while restaurants, hotels, clubs and pubs can trade from 11h00 – 2h00, if they are not in a residential area, where the trading time is reduced until 21h00.   

Licence applications will also have to be advertised in local newspapers, displayed on the premises, and submitted to the municipalities and ward councillors, the Act proposes. 

Wine estates may not sell more than 30 litres of wine, 10 litres of spirits, or 100 litres of beer per day to a person who does not have a liquor licence.   It would also be an offence to have more than this quantity of liquor in one’s possession, even in one’s home, a major knock for wine collectors, who would be forced to get a liquor licence as well.  

One good aspect of the proposed legislation change is that supermarkets may sell wine up to 16,5 % alcohol content, compared to 14 %, once the legislation is passed.   Also, wine sales on Sundays in supermarkets could also be allowed, subject to municipal approval thereof as to the trading days and hours. 

Another positive aspect of the Act is that open bottles of wine may not be transported, and one may not drink alcohol and drive, with heavy fines to be implemented.

Cronje has recommended to the wine industry that liquor licence applications should be done before the new Liquor Act is legislated, because it will become a more cumbersome and expensive process once the Act is legislated.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com