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South African Liquor Law Changes

The City of Cape Town is to make changes to its new Liquor Trading Days and Hours by-law. The law, which was approved on July 28th of this past year, will now allow hotels within the city to to sell wine and other alcoholic beverages until 2 AM. The law, however, restricts such business facilities from serving alcohol from 2 AM until 11 AM, so offerings such as champagne breakfasts are still legally disallowed. Additionally, the new amendment forces wine retailers to close at 6 PM instead of 8 PM, which lessens a significant portion of their revenues.

Additionally, this change in South African laws compromises the businesses of wine farms throughout South Africa that will not be allowed to sell wines before 11 AM. Many fear this may have a strong negative effect on tourism, especially for tourists who visit the region to taste wines and have traditionally been picked up by tour guides at their hotel to visit wine farms. “Sunday tours will also become impossible if wine farms are not allowed to sell their product on Sundays. One by-product of the new legislation is bound to be unemployment.”

Many constituents of the City are seeking the same amendment to apply to venues aside from hotels, such as pubs and restaurants, that are in residential areas. The law would severely curtail much revenue with respect to the hospitality and tourism industries. Hotels that are zoned in “residential” areas will not be allowed to serve alcohol between the hours of 11 PM and 11 AM whereas hotels that are zoned in “business” areas will not be allowed to served alcohol between 2 AM and 11 AM. “If [hotel establishments] sell any liquor during those hours, the responsible person would be subject to a fine up to R30 000, a three year prison sentence or both.”

The reasonings for altering the liquor laws of South Africa are cited as to “lessen liquor abuse, noise pollution, hooliganism and public disturbances, and to crack down on shebeens and other establishments selling liquor without a license. However, Fedhasa (the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa) has stated that creating new liquor laws will do little to solve these problems.”

(Source:Liquor Law Changes.)

Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Sonja Bezuidenhout February 10, 2012, 2:42 PM

    The new liquor act that is on the table. My concern is that there is at Kwa Thema township – in Brakpan there is a Police Station, Liquor store and a school all in one area and street. Please place in the act that when there a new liquor shop they must make sure that it is NOT near a school. This is a very big concern. It need to look at very carefully. Thanks

  • Bianca February 26, 2013, 5:50 AM

    Hi Lindsey

    Please can you advise, we want to market a subscription gourmet box which includes wine among other items. Do we need a liquor licence in order to do this.

    Thank you

  • Lindsey A. Zahn Lindsey A. Zahn February 26, 2013, 6:04 PM

    Hi Bianca,

    This blog is only for educational purposes. On Reserve does not function to provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, I suggest you contact an attorney. I am currently associated with this firm: http://www.bevlaw.com

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