Sikhukhune beer sellers challenge Limpopo liquor curfew in court

The controversial Limpopo alcohol sales midnight curfew will be challenged in the high court next week.

This after various stakeholders including artists and liquor-trading associations slammed the new act that prohibits beer holes from selling alcohol after midnight effective from August 1.

The Sikhukhune Liquor Traders Association (SLTA) has dragged the Limpopo Liquor Board, the MEC for economic development, HOD in the department of tourism, the premier and the police commissioner to the court to challenge the act.

In the court papers, which were filed by the association on Monday, the SLTA states that it had a mediation meeting with stakeholders on July 24, which deteriorated after they could not resolve the matter.

In the first part of the application, the association seeks an urgent order for the court to set the act aside pending a hearing and finalisation of its court application.

The association seeks “an order reviewing and setting aside the decision by the respondents to pass and implement regulations contained in the General Notice 283 of 2023, passed in terms of the Limpopo Liquor No.5 of 2009 read together with Limpopo Amendment Act No.5 of 2015”.

The association also seeks the court to order anyone who wishes to oppose its application to pay for legal fees.

It gave the liquor board, MEC Rodgers Monama, premier Stanley Mathabatha, the HOD, and the police commissioner in the province Thembi Hadebe until Wednesday to reply to the urgent application.

The association, which is made of tavern, pub and club owners in areas within and around Sikhukhune district, asks the court to return the normal trading hours for beer sales.

It alleges that the respondents did not follow their own due processes to introduce the new act.

“It came as a shock when in recent time, as at the 22nd of July 2023, we observed from social media and radio broadcasts that a decision to implement the proposed regulations is taken and the date of the 1st of August 2023 is intended to be the date for the implementation and operation of the impugned regulations, which means they will take effect and have a force of law,”

The association added that its objections to the act were ignored, leaving its members with no option but to approach the high court for intervention.

It’s said the act has put its members’ livelihoods at stake as they face arrest, being fined, the police confiscating their stock, and their trading licences being revoked if they are found trading after midnight.

The association said it is not viable for liquor businesses to stop operating after midnight because that is when they make more money.

The department of economic development in the province believes the act will help reduce cases of gender-based violence and road accidents.

It also indicated that there is not much added value in the province in the trade of liquor beyond midnight.

Artists in the province are also up in arms, saying the new legislation is not different to Covid-19 lockdown regulations which crippled their lives.

Limpopo Artists Movement chairperson Mphoza Mashabela said: “This move is like apartheid times when white government banned music artists. We want to advise them to come up with better solutions.

“We are approaching summer time and artists get booked and are scheduled to perform after midnight at some taverns and pubs. Who is going to pay back the deposits?”


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