Capetonians who are concerned about the unbridled growth in the approval of liquor licences have only a few days left to provide input on the revised Western Cape Liquor Bill which was published on 14 March this year for public comment.
The closing date for comment is Wednesday, 16 April.
Cllr Pieter van Dalen, ward councillor for Kuils River, recently experienced how easily liquor licences are approved. A liquor store was opened opposite a children’s play park in the residential area of Jagtershof.
“The community is outraged as they were not properly consulted in the process. Even if the application was advertised in the Government Gazette, we cannot expect residents to know about such advertisements. Thorough consultation with the community, ward councillor and community police forums should have been done in this instance,” he says.
Cllr van Dalen is now on a mission to get the revised Bill amended in order to protect local communities. He only came across the invitation for comments on the revised Bill by chance as it was published over the Easter weekend.
“I can’t help but assume that this was done on purpose as they clearly do not want too much input from the community. I call on all residents, not only the angry ones from Jagtershof, to submit their input on this Bill or face the same fate of having a bottle store on their door step.
“Should the Bill be passed in its current form it would create serious issues for the social fabric of our residential areas,” says Cllr van Dalen.
The City of Cape Town has set up a Task Team to formulate and collate a response to the content of the Bill. Chairperson of the team, Cllr Taki Amira, says there are various issues to be addressed in the proposed Bill.
“The Bill provides for extended liquor trading hours. Bars and restaurants will be able to trade non-stop for 20 hours, from 8am the one day to 4am the next day. Bottle stores will be allowed to trade seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.
“We have also found that the appeal process barrier is set so high that the ordinary person who has objected to an application must appeal to a High Court. The estimated cost to do this would be in the region of R150 000. It is believed that the conditions allowing appeals may in its current form be in conflict with the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act,” says Cllr Amira.
The Task Team aims to contribute towards a better managed and socially acceptable Bill to regulate the sale of liquor in Cape Town.
“We have requested an extension of the deadline for written comment and believe our request will be favourably considered by the Chair of the Standing Committee in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
“The task team wishes to request all civic groups and residents to take this opportunity to make a positive input and response to the proposals in the Bill,” Cllr Amira says.
The Bill can be viewed on the provincial website at www.capegateway.gov.za. Go to the menu in the margin click on Publications and look under Bills click on the button Western Cape Liquor Bill 2008.
The Task Team will also request that no liquor licence applications be processed between 15 December to 15 January.
“We also want previous proposals allowing municipalities to publish by-laws to regulate operating hours to be re-included in the 2008 version,” says Cllr Amira.
Other issues to be tackled include:
* The right of automatic renewal of licences should fall away. All renewals should be referred to ward councillors and Community Police Forums for comment. This will allow for the conduct of the licencee in the preceding 12 months to be evlaluated before renewal is granted.
* Temporary licences to operators should be limited to four licences per applicant per year.
* The requirement to inform neighbours of applications received be made the responsibility of the respective municipality.
Residents and community organisations can send their input to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament. These can be faxed to 021 487 1685 or e-mailed to email@example.com for the attention of Ms N Manjesi.
11 APRIL 2008
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 3719
COUNCILLOR PIETER VAN DALEN
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
SUBCOUNCIL 21, WARD 14
CELL: 083 655 2203