The City of Cape Town yesterday approved the amended Liquor by-law, which originally came into effect in January 2011.  The most silly of the previous clauses, namely that Champagne Breakfasts were not allowed to be served before 11h00 due to alcohol not being allowed to be sold before 11h00, has been relaxed to allow the sale of sparkling wine from 8h00! Winetastings are also allowed, having been prohibited previously.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said that she had to carefully balance ‘many social pressures, business concerns, individual rights and governmental responsibilities’, reports the Cape Times.   The by-law is clear that the sale of alcohol after 2h00 is prohibited, but the consumption of alcohol after this deadline is not prohibited.  The by-law amendment appears to allow nightclubs and other establishments to apply to sell alcohol after 2h00, reports the Cape Argus, especially if the sale is not related to disruptions.

It would appear that the City’s law enforcement’s officials will act when alcohol consumption comes with noise and other disruptions.  A call has been made by City Councillor Anwar Adams for Long Street to be more strictly controlled, given its many clubs and bars, intermixed with mosques and churches. Councillor Ganief Hendricks said the amendments would make Cape Town the ‘drunk capital’, and foresees an increase in the number of alcohol-induced accidents as well as crime.

The tourism claim that Cape Town is a ’24 hour’ city weighed heavily in the amendments made.

The Cape Argus has reported that the number of South Africans driving after drinking is decreasing, according to market research conducted to measure the impact of responsible drinking and driving advertising campaigns, encouraging ‘Drive Dry’.  The newspaper has assisted in the campaign for responsible drinking, by publishing the names of motorists who have been sentenced in Cape courts for drinking and driving.

POSTSCRIPT 3/3: Other welcome amendment to the Liquor by-law is that hotel room mini-bars and Guest House/B&B Honesty Bars may be stocked for 24 hours per day.  Hotels may also serve drinks until 2h00 instead of the previous 23h00, and all night in the room via room service.  Wine estates may trade and do winetastings on Sundays.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@Whale Cottage