Community urged to get involved in liquor licence process

Western Cape Liquor Authority chief executive officer advocate Simion George, education and stakeholder relations officer Mfundo Galada and senior manager of communication, education and stakeholder relations Rebecca Campbell.

Residents have a say in how many liquor outlets are allowed to operate in their community – and where they are located.

This was the main message communicated at a workshop held last Friday and attended by members of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF), SAPS and representatives of the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA).

Of the 88 liquor outlets across Mitchell’s Plain are registered with the WCLA, 58 of these are in Mitchell’s Plain police’s precinct. This was confirmed by Sergeant Marco Van Neel, designated liquor officer at the station.

Rebecca Campbell, the WCLA’s senior manager for communication, education and stakeholder relations, said the 88 registered outlets in Mitchell’s Plain were in Beacon Valley, Eastridge, Lentegeur, Mandalay, Rocklands, Samora Machel and Westgate.

Naiema Isaacs, from Beacon Valley, challenges the Western Cape Liquor Authority. Seated next to her is Reva Fortune, from Hyde park, and in front is Noleen Basson, from Tafelsig East.

Advocate Simion George, WCLA chief executive officer, said the they only had control over registered outlets and that the community could object to a licence application based on the following:

  • because there were too many liquor licenses in the area already;
  • alcohol was already abused within this community;
  • there are high crime statistics in the area and people feel unsafe;
  • disturbing noise levels;
  • there is no adequate parking at the specific premises; and
  • the premises are situated within a residential area.

Residents can also object if they feel that the granting of the liquor licence would negatively influence residents’ safety, their children and that of their neighbourhood; the aged and frail; pupils under the age of 18; patients of an institution for drug or alcohol-related dependencies; and congregants of a religious institution located near the proposed licensed premises.

He implored the community to work with the authority to control and legislate outlets.

If residents believed an outlet should be shut down, they could motivate for this, based on the following:

  • the business is selling liquor to children younger than 18;
  • an outlet is causing noise and a public disturbance;
  • an outlet is staying open later than the permitted trading hours (trading hours must be clearly displayed at the premises);
  • outlets are selling liquor to persons that are suspected of being drunk already;
  • outlets are allowing the use and selling of drugs on the premises;
  • an outlet is holding anything as security, such as a person’s identity document, Sassa card or jewellery for the payment of a debt relating to the sale of liquor licensed outlet selling to an unlicensed outlet.

Mr George said the WCLA worked with the community, police, area-based teams, faith-based groups, non-government organisations, civic bodies, municipality, provincial and national government.

“It is our mandate and objective to lead the reduction of alcohol-related harms through effective regulation and the reduction of the retail sale and micro-manufacture of liquor in the Western Cape,” he said.

Washiela Sardien, Mitchell’s Plain CPF Rocklands sub-forum project co-ordinator, said there were two liquor outlets in one road, one near to a school; and another two close to another school.

“This affects our community, our children, a lot. People in Rocklands and Tafelsig get killed because of liquor in our community, where there are schools and my grandchildren,” she said.

Ms Sardien said her children grew up in the area, where hardly anyone objected to the liquor application and now years later they were “annoyed” with these establishments.

Pastor Dean Ramjoomia, founder and director of Nehemiah Call Initiative, in Beacon Valley, challenged the authority by saying that they issued liquor licenses to potential businesses but do not adequately regulate and control those outlets.

Referring to the call for comment on proposals to grant liquor licences to shops at petrol stations, he urged the WCLA to “first get it right” with existing outlets.

Mitchell’s Plain CPF chairman Norman Jantjes said all complaints should be channelled via the oversight body, to ensure the community was properly informed about applications, and could thereby comment on or object to submissions.

For more information and or to complain call 021 204 9805 / 9700, email liquor.enquiries@wcla.gov.za or visit WCLA on the third floor of the Sunbel Building, 3 Old Paarl Road in Bellville, Monday to Friday, from 9am until 3pm.