Western Cape’s new liquor licence approach rewards good behaviour

The Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) is rewarding compliant licensees for good behaviour by allowing them to renew their licence automatically.

In a statement on Wednesday, the WCLA said it is in a good position to regulate liquor more effectively and fairly in the interest of the public. The regulatory board would implement automatic and non-automatic renewals for the 2023 licence renewal cycle.

Rebecca Campbell, head of communication, education & stakeholder relations at WCLA, said: “Practically, this means licence holders who are non-compliant will have to apply to renew their licences, while compliant licence holders can have their renewals done automatically.”

Campbell added that a list of non-compliant licensees would be published, and that members of the public would have an opportunity to comment on the renewal of these applications.

All the licensees who do not qualify for automatic renewals would be notified by July 31, ahead of the annual renewal period. They will then be able to submit a renewal application for consideration by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal.

Reagen Allen, Western Cape MEC of police oversight and community safety, said this differentiated approach to liquor licence renewals rewards good behaviour by allowing compliant licensees to renew their licences automatically while introducing adverse consequences for errant behaviour.

“A liquor licence is granted as a concession to trade in alcohol, provided the licence is operated in a manner that is mindful of the public interest. I am encouraged that the WCLA is innovating in this way,” said Allen.

Emphasising the importance of good behaviour and compliance Simion George, CEO of the Western Cape Liquor Authority, said: “Alcohol is a regulated substance due to the significant harms associated with its availability and use. Regulation ensures that public interest is considered and prioritised to reduce the impact of alcohol on communities while enabling sustainable business opportunities.

“In South Africa, 56% of transport-related deaths, and 54% of homicides and violence cases are linked to high levels of alcohol. The availability and use of alcohol is a risk factor enabling gender-based violence, sexual violence and other forms of violence leading to injury, trauma or death.”

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