West­ern Cape liquor traders slam new reg­u­la­tions

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SIYAVUYA MZANTSI

THE West­ern Cape Liquor Traders Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WCLTO) has lam­basted the provin­cial gov­ern­ment for its new liquor reg­u­la­tions, say­ing they were part of the DA and Premier He­len Zille’s “agenda to shut down” black and coloured-owned busi­nesses in town­ships.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion charged they were never con­sulted be­fore the reg­u­la­tions were passed, de­spite the di­rect im­pact they would have on their busi­nesses.

The reg­u­la­tions ap­proved by the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture in May take ef­fect from July 1.

The West­ern Cape gov­ern­ment be­lieves the changes will al­low the prov­ince to take the “tough­est stance to date” against the ir­re­spon­si­ble and il­le­gal sale of liquor, which it cited as a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to­wards al­co­hol-re­lated harm in the West­ern Cape.

Ac­cord­ing to the provin­cial gov­ern­ment, seven pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions were held be­tween Jan­uary 27, 2017 and Fe­bru­ary 7, 2017 across the prov­ince.

Zille had said amend­ments to the reg­u­la­tions in­clude a max­i­mum penalty for non-com­pli­ance that the Liquor Li­cens­ing Tri­bunal (LLT) may is­sue was in­creased from R20 000 to R100 000. She said liquor in­spec­tors were com­pelled to is­sue no­tices of non-com­pli­ance to all il­le­gal out­lets. Pre­vi­ously, liquor in­spec­tors in­spected only li­cence hold­ers, while law en­force­ment dealt with the il­le­gal out­lets.

The WCLTO say the reg­u­la­tions are an at­tempt to limit their eco­nomic par­tic­i­pa­tion. They want the reg­u­la­tions scrapped and a new process es­tab­lished.

“As a re­sult of the poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions of this racially bi­ased provin­cial gov­ern­ment, a list of would-be of­fi­cial busi­ness play­ers are pre­vented from ac­quir­ing rel­e­vant li­cences. Most amaz­ingly and ab­surdly, these amend­ments em­power West­ern Cape Liquor Au­thor­ity in­spec­tors to en­ter the premises of these as­pir­ing hold­ers. What if the per­son has been sub­jected to a ‘con­struc­tive de­nial’ of a li­cence?” said WCLTO provin­cial sec­re­tary Lefa Mapilo.

“For far too long we have watched and been com­plicit in our own op­pres­sion, as wit­nessed in the con­tin­ual spa­tial apartheid. This gov­ern­ment can rest as­sured we are not go­ing to sit back and al­low eco­nomic apartheid to ap­ply to us.”

Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Dan Plato said more than 160 com­ments were re­ceived on the reg­u­la­tions, and all were con­sid­ered ac­cord­ingly.

He said his of­fice never re­ceived any com­plaints from the WCLTO.

“The West­ern Cape has a se­ri­ous prob­lem with al­co­hol. The abuse of sub­stances in this prov­ince and al­co­hol in par­tic­u­lar is con­sid­ered to be one of the key causes of car crashes and in­ter­per­sonal vi­o­lence.

“It is un­for­tu­nate the com­plainant does not seem to be aware of the lim­i­ta­tions of the provin­cial liquor act, or the dif­fer­ences be­tween the spheres of gov­ern­ment, when it comes to reg­u­la­tion of al­co­hol.”

Plato urged the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its mem­bers to de­sist from op­er­at­ing out­side the con­fines of the var­i­ous laws.

TOUGH STANCE: He­len Zille

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