The Liquor Trade in the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape was one of the first provinces to promulgate its own liquor licencing legislation subsequent to the 2003 (National) Liquor Act. This statute is the Eastern Cape Liquor 2003 Act, which came into force on 14 May 2004.

Unlike most of the other provinces’ liquor legislation, there is no general prohibition which makes it an offence to contravene any provision of the Act. In what follows I set out the specified offences.

Interestingly – no doubt through a slip of the legislative pen – the possession, control, consumption, sale, supply or giving of certain concoctions1 is prohibited but not criminalised. The concoctions in question are those manufactured by the fermentation of treacle, sugar, or other substances, and known as isityimiyana, hopana, qediviki, skokiaan, mhali, Baberton, or anything similar, as well as drinks made by distilling any such concoction.2

A. Retailers and traders

  1. It is a crime to sell liquor unless you are registered (or deemed to be registered) to sell that liquor.3

  2. It is an offence for a retailer or a micro-manufacturer to sell liquor to a manufacturer or a wholesaler.4

  3. Any person who sells liquor to an intoxicated person commits a crime.5

  4. A person who is registered to sell liquor at a special event may sell liquor only at that event, and commits an offence if he does otherwise.6

  5. It is an offence to sell liquor outside the hours determined by the municipality in whose area of jurisdiction the premises are situated.7

  6. It is a crime to sell liquor otherwise than in terms of the registration with the Liquor Board.8

  7. It is an offence to allow violent, or drunk and disorderly behaviour on registered premises.9

B. Minors

  1. It is a criminal offence to sell liquor to any person who is under the age of 18 years.10

  2. Any person who falsely represents himself (or any other person) to be over the age of 18 years11 in order to persuade someone to sell or supply liquor to him (or to that other person) commits an offence.12

C. Management and employment

  1. If the business is owned by a corporation or partnership,13 it commits an offence if the business is not managed by a natural person who:
    • permanently resides in the Republic; and
    • is not disqualified or incompetent in terms of the Act to be a licensee.14
  2. You commit an offence if you supply liquor to an employee as wages, or remuneration or as a supplement for his pay.15

  3. It is a criminal offence to allow prostitution or drug trafficking on registered premises.16

  4. When the manager of the business (or the agent or employee of the licensee or a member of his family) does or omits to do any act which would be an offence in terms of the Act by the licensee, that licensee is deemed himself to have done or omitted to do the act, unless the court is satisfied that:
    • he neither connived at nor permitted the act or omission concerned;
    • he took all reasonable steps to prevent the act or omission; and
    • the act or omission did not fall within the scope of the authority or employment of the manager, agent, employee or member concerned.17

D. Consumers

  1. It is a crime to be violent, or drunk and disorderly on premises in respect of which a certificate of registration has been issued.18

  2. It is a crime to be drunk and disorderly in or on:
    • any road, street, lane, thoroughfare, square, park or market;
    • any shop, warehouse or public parking garage;
    • any form of public transport; or
    • any place of entertainment, cafe, eating-house or racecourse or any other premises or place to which the public has access.19
  3. If you consume any liquor in any road, street, lane or thoroughfare, or on vacant land adjacent thereto, in an urban area or other area subdivided into erven or plots with streets bounded by such erven or plots, you commit an offence.20

  4. If you introduce, possess or consume any liquor on a sports ground21 to which the public has access, you commit an offence.22

E. Hearings before the Liquor Board

  1. If you are notified to be present at any meeting of the Liquor Board, it is an offence if you fail to appear before the relevant body on the date and at the time and place set out in the notice.23

  2. The same applies if you are summoned to give evidence or to produce any document or any other thing in your possession or control and which, in the opinion of the chairperson, relates to any matter to be considered. If you fail to comply with the subpoena, you commit an offence.24

F. Inspectors

  1. An offence is committed by any inspector who:
    • enters any land or premises without a warrant in circumstances requiring a warrant;25
    • acts contrary to a warrant issued in terms of the Act;26 and
    • without authority enters or inspects land or premises.27
  2. If anyone falsifies an authorisation or a warrant, compliance notice or compliance certificate contemplated in the Act, it is a crime.28

  3. It is an offence to unlawfully prevent the owner of any land or premises, or a person working for that owner, from entering the land or premises in order to comply with a requirement of the Act.29

  4. Once an inspector is duly authorised to have access to premises, it is an offence to refuse him that access.30

  5. If you obstruct, interfere or hinder an inspector exercising a power or performing a duty in terms of the Act, you commit an offence.31

  6. It is an offence if you refuse to provide an inspector with a document or information that you are lawfully required to provide in terms of the Act.32

  7. If you furnish false or misleading information to an inspector, it is an offence.33

  8. It is also an offence to pretend to be an inspector.34

  9. If you fail to comply with a compliance notice issued in terms of the Act you commit an offence.35

  10. An inspector commits an offence if he discloses any information relating to the financial or business affairs of any person which was acquired in the exercise of any power or performance of any duty in terms of the Act.36 37
  1. A ‘concoction’, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is something made up of different ingredients. Some of the other liquor legislation – Northern Cape, for example – defines a concoction as a fermented drink unsafe for human consumption. 

  2. See section 56(1). 

  3. Section 19 read with section 61(1)(b). 

  4. Section 37 read with section 61(1)(b). 

  5. Section 38(b) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  6. Section 41(a) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  7. Section 42(b) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  8. Section 59(1)(a) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  9. Section 59(1)(c) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  10. Section 38(a) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  11. This must be a typographical mistake. Presumably, the legislature means over the age of 17 – i.e. 18 and older. If someone is 18, he has no need to make any such misrepresentations. 

  12. Section 59(1)(g) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  13. i.e. some (legal) person other than a natural person – see section 40(1) of the Act. 

  14. Section 40(1) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  15. Section 59(1)(h) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  16. Section 59(1)(h) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  17. Section 60. 

  18. Section 59(1)(b) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  19. Section 59(1)(d) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  20. Section 59(1)(e) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  21. Except in the case of registered premises situated on the sports ground concerned. 

  22. Section 59(1)(f) read with section 61(1)(a). 

  23. Section 72(2) read with section 17(1) and 69(1)(a). 

  24. Section 17(3) read with section 69(1)(a). 

  25. Section 57(1)(i) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  26. Section 57(1)(j) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  27. Section 57(1)(k) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  28. Section 57(1)(g) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  29. Section 57(1)(e) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  30. Section 58(1)(a) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  31. Section 57(1)(b) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  32. Section 57(1)(c) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  33. Section 57(1)(d) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  34. Section 57(1)(f) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  35. Section 57(1)(h) read with section 61(1)(b). 

  36. Except if required by law or an order of court. 

  37. Section 57(1)(l) read with section 61(1)(b).