Minister Fritz urges residents to drink responsibly over the long weekend

The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, is urging residents to drink responsibly, should they wish to do so, over the long weekend. Additionally, Minister Fritz calls on residents and businesses to follow the important health and safety protocols so that we can all stay safe, including avoiding crowded and confined spaces, or venues that have poor ventilation.

Minister Fritz said, “We have seen over the last year how super-spreader events can take place around socialising, and so we all have to have heightened vigilance and act responsibly.”

The Western Cape Liquor Authority will be ensuring increased enforcement this weekend to ensure that those who break the rules are held accountable.

Minister Fritz added, “Liquor Inspectors will be conducting Easter Weekend enforcement operations with heightened vigilance to increase compliance. We urge businesses to follow the health and safety protocols so that we don’t allow any space to cause a super-spreader event.”

Minister Fritz continued, “We know that there is an incontrovertible link between alcohol abuse and violent crime which is why I call on residents to drink responsibly, should they wish to do so. Having said that, we cannot support blanket bans placed on the sale of alcohol. Instead, we need to pursue smart interventions to alcohol related harms such as the amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act which are well under way.”

Minister Fritz added, “We are still facing a serious pandemic and as such, residents should avoid large gatherings, particularly where alcohol is involved. Alcohol limits the inhibitions of those who consume it, meaning that those who consume it are less likely to adhere to the necessary health protocols.”

Residents can report license holders who are trading irresponsibly, or contravening their license conditions, to the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) by calling (+27) 21 204-9805, emailing liquor.enquiries@wcla.gov.za(link sends e-mail) or visiting https://www.wcla.gov.za/form/complaints-form(link is external). The WCLA is currently running a ‘Booze is Everybody’s Business’ campaign to highlight these channels available to the public, since alcohol abuse has a negative impact on the safety of so many communities.

Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) Update

Between 27 March 2020 and 28 March 2021, the WCLA has conducted 382 investigations into license holders who have contravened their license conditions. Of the 382 matters, 97 section 71 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal’s (LLT) case roll, of which:

• 56 licences were suspended;

• 23 applications were dismissed;

• 17 applications were referred to the Prosecutor; and

• 1 application withdrawn.

Of the 56 licences that were suspended, 55 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which:

• 1 licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;

• 52 suspensions were lifted by the LLT;

• 2 suspensions were lifted, 1 in the High Court and 1 as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceeding; and

• 1 return hearing is pending.

In total, 98 COVID-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:

• 3 licences were revoked;

• 13 applications dismissed;

• In 4 matters the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;

• 10 licences were suspended;

• 1 licence was cancelled; and

• 30 matters are currently pending.

Minister Fritz said, “In total, 37 fines to the amount of R3.273 million were issued, of which an amount of R1.8 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period. Let this serve as a stern warning to anyone operating outside of the law.”

Minister Fritz added, “I further wish to commend the WCLA on their enforcement operations conducted in communities including Beaufort-West, Prince Albert, Merweville, Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Ladismith, De Rust, Ocean View, Riversdale, Harlem, Uniondale, and Thembalethu between 22 and 28 March. In total, 134 inspections were conducted, four operations were held, 15 non-compliance reports were submitted, and two premises were found to be non-compliant with Covid-19 Regulations.”

Minister Fritz added further, “In addition, an operation in the Southern Cape proved to be successful as two licensed outlets were found to be operating as nightclubs, which are currently prohibited in terms of the Covid-19 Regulations. The WCLA also presented training to SAPS officials upon request by the Eden SAPS Cluster.”

Source: Government of South Africa

News Reporter