New liquor bill tabled

The now contentious Liquor Bill has been tabled in the Gauteng Legislature on Friday.

Beer stocks at a liquor store. Picture: Tshepo Lesole/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The contentious Liquor Bill, which aims to impose stricter regulations on the industry, has been tabled at the Gauteng Legislature on Friday.

Economic Development MEC Nkosiphendule Kolisile introduced the controversial bill, which also proposes banning liquor trading on Sundays.

The legislation will also seek to increase licence fees.

Under the bill, licences will only be renewed after an investigation by the Liquor Board annually.

Liquor law expert Leon Slotow said, "The liquor board can hardly cope with the work that it's got to try and renew licences. Having hearings every year is going to be absolutely impossible."

Concerns have been raised about sports clubs, hotel owners and restaurants being heavily affected, while illegal trading would increase.

The bill is still open for public comment.

Meanwhile, alcohol retailer Picardi Rebel said the City of Cape Town's new liquor by-law is not well thought out and goes against job creation.

The law, which comes into effect in April, will prevent bottle stores from selling booze after 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

Alcohol sales will also be banned on Sundays.

Picardi Rebel has 15 stores across the Cape Metropole.

The retailer's Darron Swersky says closing shop at six in the evening will not be good for business.

"We have a lot of stores that are outside of the central business district where the majority of our turnover during the week takes place after 6pm. It's going to put huge pressure on those stores."

He says this could lead to retrenchments and store closures.