South Africa: MEC Albert Fritz Calls On Liquor Vendors and Consumers to Exercise Caution Amid Black Friday Sales

press release

Minister Fritz calls on liquor vendors and consumers to exercise caution amid Black Friday sales

The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, notes that the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) has conducted 242 investigations between 27 March 2020 and 20 November 2020. Minister Fritz further calls on liquor vendors selling alcohol at discounted prices to do so with caution, and those buying it, to consume responsibly, should they wish to do so.

Of the 242 investigations conducted, 83 section 71 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal's (LLT) case roll, of which:

49 licences were suspended;

23 applications were dismissed; and

11 applications were referred to the Prosecutor.

Of the 49 licences that were suspended, 49 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which:

One licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;

46 suspensions were lifted by the LLT;

Two suspensions were lifted, one in the High Court and one as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceeding; and

No return hearings are pending.

Minister Fritz said, "In total, 72 Covid-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:

One licence was revoked;

Five applications were dismissed;

In three matters, the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;

Three licences were suspended;

One licence was cancelled; and

One application was referred to the Prosecutor."

Minister Fritz added, "In 22 matters, fines to the amount of over R2.236 million were issued, of which an amount over R1.241 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period. Currently, 36 matters are pending."

Black Friday

Minister Fritz said, "We know that our country's economy is constrained, and consumers are feeling pressed, so bargains look very appealing, especially just ahead of the festive season. However, I call on liquor vendors selling alcohol at discounted prices to do so with caution, and those buying it, to act and consume responsibly, should they wish to do so."

Minister Fritz added, "I further urge liquor vendors to remain compliant with the relevant liquor legislation and the National Disaster Management Act's regulations. It is further essential that they check Identity Documents to confirm that they are not selling to minors to mitigate against alcohol-related harms."

Minister Fritz continued, "I call on the SAPS, the City of Cape Town's law enforcement, Metro Police and the WCLA Inspectors to continue with their routine spot checks to ensure the rule of law is upheld. Retailers are warned that any non-compliance may result in the WCLA issuing a fine of up to R115 000, subject to investigation."

Members of the public who are aware of any alcohol-related contraventions are to immediately report such to SAPS. Any persons wanting to lodge a complaint or report a contravention of the Regulations can also contact the WCLA on 021 204 9805.

Minister Fritz said, "As we approach the festive season, we must continue to take every step to stop the spread of Covid-19. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, with numbers steadily increasing. We know that alcohol affects consumers' judgement to the extent that they let their guard down and fail to take the necessary steps to guard themselves against the virus. Let us continue to be vigilant."

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