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U-turn on Sunday booze sales in Cape
U-turn on Sunday booze sales in Cape

U-turn on Sunday booze sales in Cape


IOL News - Apr 3rd, 11:07

The ban on liquor sales in Cape Town on Sundays is off – for now. 

In a surprising turnaround that caused an uproar in the city council on Wednesday, the DA submitted a last-minute motion to amend the section that bans the sale of liquor on a Sunday.

The controversial new liquor laws will come into effect on Monday, and the proposed ban on liquor sales from bottle stores on Sundays angered some consumers, and those in the liquor trade.

Enforcement of the section of the by-law that bans the sale of alcohol on Sundays will now be suspended.

This amendment will be discussed by the economic, environmental and spatial planning committee next week and then go out for another round of public participation – a process that could take months.

Opposition parties called the request “a political ploy”, saying businesses close to the DA were putting pressure on the party to amend the by-law.

On Wednesday, mayco member for economic, environmental and spatial planning Garreth Bloor submitted an urgent motion to reconsider the trading hours and the ban on alcohol sales on Sundays.

The Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law states that, for off-licensed premises, a licensee may sell liquor for consumption off the licensed premises from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm. No liquor may be sold by any off-licensed premises on a Sunday. The only exception is wineries, which may trade from their tasting rooms on Sundays.

The request came as the council meeting started on Wednesday and as Harley’s Liquor Store in the CBD applied for a court interdict to stop the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

Opposition parties lashed out at the DA request, saying the process to approve the by-law had spanned many years, millions had been spent on public participation and all stakeholders consulted.

ANC leader in the council Tony Ehrenreich said the ANC believed the DA was being lobbied by businesses in Long Street and South African Breweries (SAB).

“The DA are making some vague promises of economic development, disregarding the impact of alcohol on communities. This is an indication of the DA bias to business ahead of working class communities,” Ehrenreich said.

Bloor said: “We are aware that the by-law is designed to address the problems of alcohol abuse in communities but there are employees and industries affected that we have to take into consideration.

“This did go out for public consultation but as usual there are things that are only realised at the last minute. We are not looking to change the decision immediately but for the portfolio committee to consider and then it will go out for public comment again.”

Cope councillor Kent Morkel said: “What a farce and a joke. Every issue Bloor has brought up came up 50 times before. All I read into this is that there is political pressure. This is a political ploy with stakeholders close to the DA putting pressure on them.”

Bloor said they were not looking at lifting the ban on Sunday sales in residential areas but only in commercial nodes. “Alcohol abuse is a result of social problems such as unemployment. A lot of stakeholders expressed concerns saying Sundays are their busiest days and the ban would result in loss of income. We are making this request to address the unintended consequences and not to undermine the job creation process,” Bloor said.

The city said it had noted concerns to which it had to respond.

The ANC supported the request, approved by the council, to refer the amendment.  

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