Cape Town’s new Liquor By-law not an April Fool’s joke!

The City of Cape Town has reminded hospitality establishments that its new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law will change on 1 April, and will impact on restaurants, bars, clubs, and accommodation establishments, and all categories of liquor licences that they hold.  The sale of alcoholic beverages has been restricted to 18h00.

A media release issued on behalf of the City of Cape Town quotes Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning: ‘As part of our commitment to building both a Caring and an Opportunity City, the by-law has sought to consider the needs of all stakeholders in the city and to strike a balance between the social effects of alcohol abuse, potential disruption (especially in residential areas), and the reasonable sale of alcohol for the hospitality sector‘.

Describing the hospitality sector as an ‘important economic multiplier’, the City amended its draft regulations to allow currently licensed establishments, which are now obliged to stop selling alcohol at 2h00, to apply for an extension to trade until 4h00, on condition that the establishment is zoned for business or industrial use.

The By-law allows the sale of alcohol on all days of the week, within the following hours:

*   ‘Guest accommodation establishments’, business premises, places of entertainment, and sport and community clubs

#   11h00 – 23h00 in residential and neighbourhood business areas (sport and community clubs an exception, until 24h00 in local or neighbourhood business areas)

#   11h00 – 2h00 in general business, industrial and ‘agricultural‘ areas

*   Hotels and casinos

#    11h00 – 2h00 in all areas

*   Wineries

#   11h00 – 24h00 in small holding or rural areas

#   11h00 – 2h00 in agricultural areas

*   Ad hoc mobile entertainment vehicles for tourists: 11h00 – 24h00.

The difference between ‘agricultural’ and ‘small holding or rural area‘ is not defined in the media statement.

The following additional exceptions have been written into the By-law:

*   special event permits will have the trading hours specified

*   licensed hotels and guest establishments may sell liquor via room service 24 hours of the day

*   sparkling wine may be served between 8h00 – 11h00 for ‘champagne breakfasts’, if access is controlled to functions.

The City has urged the hospitality industry to apply for licence extension until 4h00 as soon as possible, so that they are covered from 1 April onwards.  Should they not have applied by then, they will have to stop selling liquor by 2h00 until they receive permission for the time extension.

Compared to the original By-law outline made public a year ago, the City has shown great understanding and flexibility in accepting feedback from its publics, and making suitable changes to the benefit of the hospitality industry.

POSTSCRIPT 13/3: Food24 provided further details about the new liquor legislation, highlighting that each municipality in the country may now set its own regulations, which no longer are uniform per province.  The City of Cape Town has banned the sale of alcoholic beverages in retail outlets on Sundays (and these outlets must close at 18h00 on the other days, as above), Caroline’s in the V&A Waterfront motivating these changes as the reason for closing down its branch in the V&A.  Wine estates may sell wines on Sundays. In Hermanus retail outlets may sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays. Further restrictions are:

1.  One may not buy more than 150 litres of alcohol at a time, even if it is for a function, if one does not have a liquor licence.

2.   One may not stock more than 150 litres (200 750 ml bottles) of alcohol in one’s home without a liquor licence.

3.   One may not drink alcohol in a moving vehicle, even if one is not the driver!

4.  No school function may serve alcohol, whether the function is at the school or at a different (even licensed) location.

Asking Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of TEAM in the City of Cape Town, at the CAP40 talk about the complaints on Twitter today about the Sunday sales ban in retail outlets, he replied that they may relook the regulation, giving the overwhelming criticism, and the negative effect this may have on tourism.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

6 replies on “Cape Town’s new Liquor By-law not an April Fool’s joke!”

  1. Rob Harris says:

    Can you please clarify – does the 2h00 refer to 14h00 (ie 2pm on a Sunday) with the municipality urging people to apply to sell until 16h00 (4pm) on the Sunday or is it 2h00am on the Monday morning?

  2. It is 2h00 in the morning Rob.


  3. Nigel says:

    What were these people smoking when they came up with this bunch of BULL…. You can go to a Bar, Restaurant or Hotel on a Sunday to imbibe your beverage of choice but cannot buy a bottle of wine to enjoy with your Sunday lunch at home.

    Can you imagine how a tourist would see it after a day’s sightseeing on their way back to their “redidence” wanting to pick up a bottle of wine for a sundowner, sorry no off sales after 18h00 they would think we are still in the dark ages.

    This is such an ill thought out piece of law that restricts and prohibits the vast majority for the actions of a few legal and many Illegal traders.

    Give those people a Bells……

  4. You are so funny Nigel!

    I wonder if bottle stores are open in Germany or in the UK?


  5. muneeb says:

    i personally think this was a bad decision as now its becoming political and do not be suprise if the DA looses all votes for the Western Cape as their bringing back the old days where peopple will trade illegally and peopple will soon sit without jobs or any income,where clearly this political leaders have no worries of what their will have on their table at night for supper.Believe it or not this is definately going into the direction of the ANC if i may put it mildly,this was one really bad call from the DA as its just Business and their taking away job creation and small business opportunities and if the ANC should go against this BYLAW their get the Western CAPE,THATS FOR SURE..

  6. While I appreciate that the DA wants to reduce alcoholism in the Western Cape, a serious problem, I cannot see the legislation making any difference to the situation at all Muneeb.


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