The Draft Liquor Amendment Bill was published for comment in the Government Gazette of Friday the 30th September 2016.
The Bill, read in conjunction with the Final National Liquor policy document published on the same day, has serious implications for the liquor industry and will, once implemented turn the liquor trade on its head.
Our comments on the Bill are set out hereunder:
In summary the Bill provides for the creation of a National Liquor Regulator which will take over most of the functions of the Minister in terms of the Liquor Act of 2003 which regulates, mainly the manufacture and distribution of liquor, but also impinges on the retail industry.
Advertising of liquor is severely curtailed. The drinking age is raised from 18 to 21, the Minister will have the right to set BBBEE levels which if not met will lead to the suspension or revocation of the registration. The Minister will also prescribe guidelines to curb the effects of alcohol abuse. Furthermore, zoning is to be enforced, no liquor may be sold at petrol stations, no liquor may be sold near public transport facilities, schools, places of worship, recreational facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas, or public institutions.
Additional inspectors are to be designated which signals stricter enforcement. The Minister is given the power to determine trading hours for manufacturers and distributors. An internal review process is instituted which means that this remedy will have to be exhausted before application may be made to a court for relief.
Perhaps the most revolutionary provision is making the manufacturer or distributor liable for death, injury or damage to property caused by liquor abuse.