Civic group objects to liquor licence application

A liquor licence application permitting onsite drinking at a Sporting Lounge in Morgenster shopping centre, is pending.

A Morgenster civic group is objecting to a sporting lounge being allowed to have customers drink alcohol on its premises at the Morgenster shopping centre.

Banzo Star trading as the Sporting Lounge has applied to the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) to have onsite liquor consumption at Shop 14.

The Morgenster Service Forum, a non-profit organisation, is responding to a notice, dated Thursday April 7, distributed by Mitchell’s Plain police station.

Forum secretary Malinda Okkers said there was a Picardi Rebel liquor store in the centre and that they did not need consumers to drink on the premises.

“We are objecting on behalf of our community,” she said.

Steven Samuels, a member of the forum and Beacon Valley neighbourhood watch, said that in the past there had been similar shops in the centre, which only caused problems for the residents and shoppers.

The forum has written an objection letter, which they sent to Mitchell’s Plain SAPS, Sub-council 12 chairman and ward councillor Solomon Philander. They also distributed it to residents to help lobby support for their objection to the liquor licence application

“We had murders, fighting, speeding and robberies take place due to this kind of structure.

“We are hard at work trying to build up our community.

“We need positive structures in place that will benefit our young children and youth.

“It is imperative that our community’s needs and interests be taken into consideration as soon as possible. The parties involved are welcome to contact our organisation,” reads their letter.

Mr Samuels said they had begun to speak to various entities to help strengthen their objection, including SAPS and the municipality.

Rebecca Campbell, WCLA senior manager for communication, education and stakeholder relations, confirmed that the liquor application was received on Friday March 25.

She said the public had until Tuesday May 24 to object to the application by submitting their comments to the authority or to the local designated liquor officer (DLO) at SAPS.

“The community can comment, either in support of or against the granting of the licence, on any aspect needing to be brought to the WCLA’s attention, which could affect the interest of the public should the licence be granted,” she said.

Ms Campbell they had not yet received a report from the DLO or comments from Sub-council 12.

“They both still have time to provide their respective reports.

“We can expect them by the first week of May,” she said.

The authority could not confirm whether the community had submitted any objections to SAPS or the council.

The liquor licence application includes considerations relating to the implications and responsibilities of trading in liquor.

Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 116 and chairman of Sub-council 12, said he had questions for the applicant and that there should be an open discussion before decisions were made.

He said that the community’s concerns would be considered.

Tosca Muller, licensing officer at The Hospitality Management Company appointed by the applicant, told the Plainsman that they were not trying to upset the community and would like to hear their complaints and and comments in an effort to find common ground.

They understood that previously there had been a nightclub on the premises, which had not been properly managed and did not obey the law.

Ms Muller said the applicant was an experienced liquor licence holder, who has a few licences at other establishments.

“He (the applicant) would be bringing that experience as well as their experienced staff to ensure that everything is done properly. No under-18 drinkers, no drunkards and he is even prepared to close early, prevent any rowdiness,” she said.

She said it would be a safe set-up for clients to enjoy themselves.

“It is not a very big business that he (the applicant) is opening. The proposed venue is under 100 square metres and practically that is too small to ever be a nightclub. He (they) would be bringing in staff to ensure compliance and that there may be room for employment opportunities (in the future),” she said.

Ms Muller said following this application, the public participation process, they would like to work with the community to enable the sporting lounge to open.