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The Liquor Trade in Northern Cape

The Northern Cape Liquor Act 2008 came into force on 1 April 2010. As with most of the other provinces’ liquor statutes, it has a general clause which makes it an offence to contravene any provision of the Act.1 There are also specified offences. In what follows, I set these out, together with all of the obvious prohibitions under the general provision.

A. Retailers and traders

  1. It is an offence to sell liquor without being duly licensed to do so in terms of the Act.2

  2. You may not sell or supply a concoction3 as beer or as liquor, and commit an offence if you do.4

  3. The holder of an on-license commits an offence if he fails to ensure that liquor is consumed on the licensed premises only.5

  4. The holder of an off-license commits an offence if he fails to ensure that liquor is not consumed on the licensed premises.6

  5. It is, basically, an offence for a licensee to contravene any condition of a license issued in terms of the Act.7

  6. If a licensee sells or supplies liquor to a person who is drunk (or from appearance seems to be drunk) he commits an offence.8

  7. It is an offence to sell methylated spirits without the written permission of the Northern Cape Liquor Board.9

B. Micromanufacturing10

  1. It is an offence to undertake the micro-manufacturing of liquor without being licenced to do so in term of the Act or the National Liquor Act.11

  2. It is an offence to manufacture a concoction.12 13

  3. It is an offence to manufacture methylated spirits without the written permission of the Northern Cape Liquor Board.14

C. Employers

  1. An employer may not supply liquor to an employee as wages or remuneration, or as a supplement for his pay.15

D. Consumers

  1. It is an offence to have in your possession any concoction.16

  2. It is an offence to consume any liquor, or to be drunk, in, on or at any public place.17 18

E. Obligations for particular licensees

  1. It is an offence, as the holder of any of the following licences, if you fail to meet the conditions referred to:
    • Hotel liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide hotel at which accommodation and meals are regularly supplied to guests.19
    • Restaurant liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide restaurant at which meals are regularly supplied to guests.20
    • Wine House liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide restaurant at which meals are regularly supplied to guests, and sell only wine.21
    • Theatre liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide theatre at which dramatic performances, plays, concerts or films are regularly presented or shown to the public; and you may sell liquor only immediately preceding performances or shows and during intervals.22
    • Club liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide club in respect of which only its members are permitted to pay for facilities, liquor or refreshments.23
    • Sorghum Beer Drinking House liquor license – you may only sell sorghum beer procured from the holder of a license for sorghum beer brewing.24
    • Guest House liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide guest house.25
    • Nightclub liquor license – at all times you must maintain a bona fide nightclub at which performances are presented to the public.26
    • Gambling House liquor license – subject to the laws governing gambling in the Northern Cape, you must allow all gambling activities on the licensed premises.27
    • Sportsclub liquor license – at all you must maintain a bona fide sportsground on which public sports meetings are regularly held.28
    • Grocer’s Wine Off-License – you may sell only table wine on the licensed premises.29
    • Sorghum Beer Off-License – you may sell only sorghum beer procured from a holder of a license to produce such beer.30
  2. Liquor may only be sold under these licences between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., Monday to Sunday. It is an offence to breach these times.31

  3. Liquor may not be consumed on these premises after 2:30 a.m.32

  4. An owner, supervisor or manager of a licensed business commits an offence if he allows violent, or drunk and disorderly behaviour on the licensed premises.33

  5. Any licenced trader who fails to keep all records as prescribed by the Act commits an offence.34

  6. You may not sell liquor at any place other than where the sale of liquor is permitted in terms of your licence.35

F. Minors

  1. It is a crime for any licensee (or his employee, or any person on his behalf) to sell liquor to a person below the age of 18 years – i.e. a minor.36

  2. It is an offence to supply liquor to a minor.37

  3. It is also a crime to employ a minor to sell or serve liquor.38

G. The licenced premises

  1. A licensee may carry out licensed activities only in or from the licensed premises in accordance with the Act, and commits an offence if he does otherwise.39

  2. Where the owner of the business is a corporation or partnership, the manager and responsible person must be:
    • an adult;
    • a permanent resident in South Africa; and
    • someone who is not disqualified40 from applying for a licence.

    It is an offence if this is not the position.41

  3. Where groceries and other merchandise, as well as liquor (other than table wine) are sold in premises under one roof, the two activities must be completely separated from each other by a solid wall in which there is no door, window or other opening. The liquor section must have its own separate entrance, as well as a separate payment point. It is an offence if any of these requirements are not met.42

  4. It is an offence to effect any structural alteration, extension, addition or construction of, or to, the licensed premises without the prior written consent of the Northern Cape Liquor Board.43

  5. If the licensed premises are open for the sale or consumption of liquor at a time when it is not permitted in terms of the Act, the licensee commits an offence.44

  6. The licensee must at all times, keep the license:45
    • on the licensed premises;
    • displayed in a conspicuous place.

H. Inspectors and the Liquor Board

Police officers are, from time to time, designated as ‘inspectors’ for purposes of enforcement, policing compliance with the Act, and so forth. They have wide powers of interrogation, inspection, and so on.

  1. If you are questioned by an inspector (in the execution of his duties) you are obliged to answer any question;46 and then also commit an offence if you unreasonably refuse to provide to him any document or information.47

  2. If you furnish false or misleading information to an inspector, you commit an offence.48

  3. You may not refuse to grant an inspector access to premises, or obstruct, interfere or hinder an inspector in performing his duty in terms of the Act. It is an offence to do so.49

  4. If an inspector considers that the Act, or licence, is not being complied with, he can issue to the licensee a ‘non-compliance notice’. It is a criminal offence not to comply with such a notice.50

  5. If you unreasonably refuse to cooperate with an inspector (or police officer, or any other person assigned by the Board) in the execution of his duties you commit an offence.51

  6. If the Liquor Board requests you to appear before it, you commit an offence if you unreasonably fail to do so.52

  1. Section 46(a) of the Act. 

  2. Section 4(1)(b) read with section 46(a); section 47(2)(c). 

  3. This is defined as any fermented drink which is unsafe for human consumption. See section 1 of the Act. 

  4. Section 4(a) read with section 46(a). 

  5. Section 17(3) read with section 46(a). 

  6. Section 17(3) read with section 46(a). 

  7. Section 46(b). 

  8. Section 46(d). 

  9. Section 4(3)(b) read with section 46(a). 

  10. This means a person who produces liquor at or below the threshold volumes prescribed by the Minister. At present, these segulations are in Government Notice 980 of 17 August 2004. Regulation 12 provides the volumes as: (a) for manufacturers of beer, 100 million litres per year; (b) for the manufacture of traditional African beer, 50 million litres per year; (c) for manufacture of wine, 4 million litres per year; and (d) for manufacture of spirits and/or any other liquor, 2 million litres per year. 

  11. Section 4(1)(a) read with section 46(a); section 47(2)(a). 

  12. A concoction means any fermented drink used as a substitute for liquor, which is unsafe for human consumption – see section 1 of the Act. 

  13. Section 4(1)(a) read with section 46(a). 

  14. Section 4(3)(a) read with section 46(a). 

  15. Section 46(c). 

  16. Section 4(a)2 read with section 46(a). 

  17. This means including, but not limited to, any road, street, lane, thoroughfare, square, park, market, shop, warehouse or garage to which members of the public have access. 

  18. Section 46(h). 

  19. Section 17(1)(a) read with section 46(a). 

  20. Section 17(1)(b) read with section 46(a). 

  21. Section 17(1)(c) read with section 46(a). 

  22. Section 17(1)(d) read with section 46(a). 

  23. Section 17(1)(e) read with section 46(a). 

  24. Section 17(1)(f) read with section 46(a). 

  25. Section 17(1)(h) read with section 46(a). 

  26. Section 17(1)(i) read with section 46(a). 

  27. Section 17(1)(j) read with section 46(a). 

  28. Section 17(1)(k) read with section 46(a). 

  29. Section 17(2)(b) read with section 46(a). 

  30. Section 17(2)(c) read with section 46(a). 

  31. Section 17(4) read with section 17(1) and 46(a). 

  32. Section 17(4) read with section 17(1) and 46(a). 

  33. Section 46(g). 

  34. Section 46(i). 

  35. Section 47(1)(c). 

  36. Section 19(1) read with section 46(a). 

  37. Section 46(e). 

  38. Section 46(e). 

  39. Section 17(6) read with section 46(a). 

  40. In terms of section 21 of the Act. 

  41. Section 33(1) read with section 46(a). 

  42. Section 23 read with section 46(a). 

  43. Section 24(1) read with section 46(a). 

  44. Section 47(1)(a). 

  45. Section 47(2)(b). 

  46. Section 45(3) read with section 46(a). 

  47. Section 45(1) read with section 46(a). 

  48. Section 45(1) read with section 46(a). 

  49. Section 45(2) read with section 46(a). 

  50. Section 46(f). 

  51. Section 46(j). 

  52. Section 46(k).