Menu

The Liquor Trade in Gauteng

The Gauteng Liquor Act 20031 came into force on 1 November 2004. As with the other provincial liquor legislation, in addition to specified offences, the Act has a general provision that makes it an offence to contravene any provision of the Act.2 What follows will set out the prohibitions more likely contemplated by this general criminalisation, together with the specific offences.

A. Retailers and wholesalers

  1. It is an offence for any person to sell any liquor otherwise than under a licence or permit issued, or an exemption granted in terms of the Act.3

  2. It is an offence by a licensee to fail or refuse to comply with any condition of a licence.4

  3. Where there is an on-consumption licence, the proprietor commits an offence if he fails to ensure that liquor be consumed on the licensed premises only.5

  4. It is an offence for the holder of a wholesale liquor licence to sell or supply liquor to a person who is not himself the holder of a licence (or is an exempted person).6

  5. It is a crime to sell or supply any illegal or counterfeit liquor.7

  6. All licensees are obliged to comply with any compliance or other notice issued in terms of the Act, or any direction or order of the Board, and commit an offence by failing to do so.8

  7. Section 37 of the Act lists those categories of persons to whom licences may not be granted. It is an offence to enter into or negotiate an agreement or business arrangement the effect of which is to circumvent these prohibitions.9

  8. A licensee shall not sell liquor at any place other than the licensed premises, and commits a crime if he does.10

  9. A licensee commits an offence if he allows drunkenness or licentious conduct11 on the licensed premises.12

  10. A licensee commits an offence if he does not refuse an intoxicated person admission to the licensed premises (or any part thereof).13

  11. He also commits an offence if he does not have such person removed from the licensed premises.14

  12. It is a crime to sell or supply liquor to an intoxicated person.15

B. Records and information

  1. The licence must at all times:
    • be kept on the licensed premises;
    • be displayed on a conspicuous place on the premises; and
    • be produced on demand by an authorised person.16
  2. The holder of a licence shall also keep all records as prescribed, or as directed by the Board.17

  3. In relation to any application, objection, representations, reply to any objection or representations, or complaint or request, in terms of the Act it is an offence to submit or provide:
    • any information which is false or misleading; or
    • any false document; or
    • any document which purports to be, but is not, a true copy of an original document.18
  4. A licensee must furnish such information and documents in connection with the licensed premises as the Board may require, and commits an offence if he fails or refused to do so.19

  5. The licensee commits an offence if he fails to keep any record which he is required to keep. It is also an offence not to keep all such records in an adequate and proper manner.20

C. Licenced premises and storage

  1. A licensee must permit, and enable, the inspection and search by an inspector of licensed premises, at all reasonable times. It is an offence not to do so.21

  2. It is an offence to effect any structural alteration, extension, addition or reconstruction of or to the licensed premises except with the consent of the Gauteng Liquor Board.22

  3. It is an offence to keep the licensed premises open (for the sale, supply or consumption of liquor) at a time when the sale of liquor is not permitted in terms of the licence or the Act.23

  4. It is an offence to sell or supply liquor in a place where the sale or supply of liquor is not permitted in terms of the licence.24

D. Employers and employees

  1. It is an offence25 to employ, whether in connection with the sale or supply of liquor, or in a restricted part of the licensed premises any person:
    • under the age of 21; or
    • who has been convicted within the previous two years of a contravention of any law concerning the sale of liquor.26
  2. You may not supply liquor to an employee as wages, or remuneration, or as a supplement for his pay, and commit an offence if you do.27

  3. If the business is owned by a corporation or partnership, it must be managed by a human being who permanently resides in the Republic and who is not disqualified in terms of the Act himself to hold a licence. It is an offence to contravene this provision.28

  4. Where an offence is committed by a juristic person, the person managing and responsible for the business shall be guilty of the same offence.29

E. Minors

  1. It is a crime to sell or supply liquor to persons under the age of 18 years on the licensed premises.30

  2. It is an offence to allow a person under the age of 18 to be in any restricted part of the premises.31 32

  3. It is, anyway, a crime to sell or supply liquor, at all, to a person under the age of 18 years.33

F. Special conditions for on-licences

  1. The following conditions apply to the mentioned licences, and it is an offence not to comply with them.
    • Hotel liquor licence – A record of all lodgers must be kept on the licensed premises at all times.34
    • Restaurant liquor licence – Liquor may only be sold to a person taking an ordinary meal purchased on the licensed premises and consuming the liquor at or immediately before or after the meal.35
    • Theatre liquor licences – you may not sell or supply liquor (at, or immediately before or afterwards36) to a person who has not been granted access to a presentation or show.37
    • Club liquor licence – you may not sell or supply liquor to a member of the club for consumption by his guest unless that member has entered his or her name and the name and address of that guest clearly and indelibly in the club records.38
    • Tavern licence – at all times the licensee must:39
      • ensure that the licensed premises is separate from any other dwelling – and, if attached, it shall be separated by means of walls and securable doors;
      • provide food and various forms of entertainment, of acceptable standards, on the licensed premises.
    • Pool club licence – must maintain on the premises a bona fide pool club providing games defined in the Act.40
    • Dance hall liquor licence – must conduct on the premises formal dancing, dancing instruction and training.41
    • Nightclub liquor licence – must maintain on the premises facilities for, at least, the provision of light meals, dancing and entertainment.42
    • Pub liquor licence – must at all times ensure that liquor is sold and consumed on the premises together with the provision of snacks or light meals.43
    • Gaming premises liquor licence – must supply all kinds of liquor for consumption on the licensed premises.44
    • Sorghum beer licence – must sell only sorghum beer. If it is for consumption on the licensed premises, the licensee must also provide ordinary meals.45
    • Catering or occasional permit – if this has been granted in respect of any premises, the licensee must ensure that liquor is provided to members or guests at the event for on-consumption only.46
    • Sports ground liquor licence – must at all times maintain on the premises a bona fide sports club where public sports games or recreations are regularly held.47

G. Special conditions for off-licences

  1. The holder of an off-licence must ensure that no liquor is consumed on the licensed premises and commits an offence if he fails to do so.48

  2. It is an offence to deliver liquor (or induce any person to do so) unless:49
    • that liquor was ordered before dispatch;
    • an invoice was made out in respect of the order;
    • the original invoice is retained on the premises from which the liquor is despatched; and
    • a copy of the invoice is kept in the vehicle.50
  3. It is an offence also to deliver liquor to an address not given in the invoice.51

  4. The holder of a grocer’s wine licence commits an offence if:
    • he sells liquor other than table wine;52
    • he sells liquor in a receptacle which has a capacity of more than five (5) litres, or in a receptacle which is not properly and securely sealed.53
  5. If you have a sorghum beer licence, you must sell the beer in a receptacle which is properly and securely sealed, and has a capacity of not more than five (5) litres. It is an offence to contravene these requirements.54

  6. It is a criminal offence to open, or allow to be opened on the licensed premises any receptacle containing liquor sold by the licensee.55

H. Prohibited concoctions

  1. It is a criminal offence to manufacture:
    • any concoction made by the fermentation of treacle, sugar or other substances, by whatever name it is known;
    • any concoction which (even though called by another name) is similar or substantially similar to those;
    • any concoction, manufactured by the fermentation of any substance, specified by the MEC in a notice in the Provincial Gazette; or
    • any drink manufactured by the distillation of any of the above concoctions.56
  2. It is an offence to have in your possession or control any such concoction or drink.57

  3. It is an offence to sell, or simply, give any such concoction or drink to anyone.58

  4. Last, but not least, it is actually a criminal offence to consume any such concoction or drink.59

I. Consumer

  1. You commit an offence if you are intoxicated, violent, or disorderly on any premises where liquor may be sold.60

  2. If you are intoxicated in, or on, or near any public place (including but not limited to any road, street, lane, thoroughfare, square, park, market, shop, warehouse or public garage, etc.) you commit an offence.61

  3. In fact, you turn yourself into a criminal if you just consume liquor in, or on, or near any public place.62

  4. The same applies to a motor vehicle, whether driven on a public road or parked in a public place. It is a crime to consume liquor inside the vehicle.63

  5. It is a crime to introduce, possess or consume any liquor on a sports ground (or any part thereof) to which the public has access.64 65

  6. If you falsely represent yourself (or any other person) to belong or not to belong to a particular category, in order to persuade someone to sell or supply liquor to you (or that other person) which would not be lawful, you commit a criminal offence.66

J. Meetings of the Liquor Board

  1. If you are summoned to appear before the Board, it is an offence if you fail to do so on the date and at the time and place set out in the notice or summons.67

  2. You also commit an offence if:
    • without the leave of the chairperson, you fail to remain in attendance at the meeting concerned until the conclusion thereof;68
    • you refuse to give evidence or to produce any document or book, having been called upon to do so;69 or
    • you refuse to take the oath or to make an affirmation, having been required to do so.70
  3. It is a crime to interrupt the proceedings at a meeting of the Board, or to wilfully hinder or obstruct the Board – or any member thereof in the performance of his functions at the meeting.71

K. Inspectors and police officers

  1. It is an offence for any person falsely to hold himself out to be, or to impersonate an inspector or police officer.72

  2. If you refuse or fail to comply with any lawful demand, order or requirement of an inspector or police officer you commit an offence.73

  3. It is also an offence if you:
    • hinder, obstruct or interfere with an inspector or police officer in the exercise of his powers;74
    • refuse to grant an inspector access to land, or premises to which he is duly authorised to have access.75
  4. Anyone who acts contrary to a warrant issued in terms of the Act commits an offence.76

  5. Anyone who fails or refuses to provide an inspector with a document or information that he is required to provide under the Act commits an offence.77
  1. As amended; the latest amendments are effected by Act 9 of 2003. 

  2. Section 127(i). 

  3. Section 127(a). 

  4. Section 132(a). 

  5. Section 51(1) read with section 127(i). 

  6. Section 81(1) read with section 127(i). 

  7. Section 50 read with section 127(i). 

  8. Section 132(e) and 130(e). 

  9. Section 131. 

  10. Section 44(1) read with section 127(i). 

  11. This means promiscuity or sexually unprincipled conduct – Concise Oxford Dictionary. 

  12. Section 132(f). 

  13. Section 47(1) read with section 127(i). 

  14. Section 47 read with section 127(i). 

  15. Section 132(g). 

  16. Section 37(5) read with section 127(i). 

  17. Section 48(1) and (2) read with section 127(i). 

  18. Section 127(i). 

  19. Section 49 read with section 127(i). 

  20. Section 132(d). 

  21. Section 37(4) read with section 127(i). 

  22. Section 43(1) read with section 127(i). 

  23. Section 132(b). 

  24. Section 132(c). 

  25. This does not apply: (a) to a person 18 years or above who is or has undergone training in catering services, and who is an apprentice to the licensee; or (b) to a member of the family of the licensee or of the manager of the business, who is above the age of 18 years, to which the licence relates. 

  26. Section 45(1)(a) and (b) read with section 127(i). 

  27. Section 127(g). 

  28. Section 40(1) read with section 127(i). 

  29. Section 40(3)(b). 

  30. Section 46 read with section 127(i). 

  31. Except for an apprentice in training. 

  32. Section 46 read with section 127(i). 

  33. Section 132(g). 

  34. Section 52(2) read with section 127(i). 

  35. Section 55 read with section 127(i). 

  36. This might imply that liquor can be sold at other times to a person who did not attend a show although this is probably not the intention. 

  37. Section 56(2) read with section 127(i). 

  38. Section 60 read with section 127(i). 

  39. Section 61 read with section 127(i). 

  40. Section 63 read with section 127(i). 

  41. Section 65 read with section 127(i). 

  42. Section 67 read with section 127(i). 

  43. Section 69 read with section 127(i). 

  44. Section 71(1) read with section 127(i). 

  45. Section 73 read with section 127(i). 

  46. Section 75 read with section 127(i). 

  47. Section 77 read with section 127(i). 

  48. Section 79(1) read with section 127(i). 

  49. Section 80(1)(a) and (b) read with section 127(i). 

  50. This does not apply to the delivery of liquor in the ordinary course of business to the holder of a licence or an exempted person. 

  51. Section 80(1)(c) read with section 127(i). 

  52. Section 91 read with section 127(i). 

  53. Section 92 read with section 127(i). 

  54. Section 94 read with section 127(i). 

  55. Section 132(h). 

  56. Section 123(1) read with section 127(i). 

  57. Section 123(1) read with section 127(i). 

  58. Section 123(1) read with section 127(i). 

  59. Section 123(1) read with section 127(i). 

  60. Section 127(b). 

  61. Section 127(c). 

  62. Section 127(d). 

  63. Section 127(d). 

  64. This does not apply to licensed premises situated on the sports ground concerned. 

  65. Section 127(e). 

  66. Section 127(f). 

  67. Section 129(a). 

  68. Section 129(b). 

  69. Section 129(c). 

  70. Section 129(d). 

  71. Section 129(e). 

  72. Section 130(a). 

  73. Section 130(b). 

  74. Section 130(c). 

  75. Section 130(d). 

  76. Section 130(f). 

  77. Section 130(g).