The Eastern Cape Liquor Board has urged liquor traders to renew their liquor licences, as part of its fight against mushrooming illegal taverns in the Province.
With a tavern on almost every corner in some parts of Grahamstown, what say do residents have in where businesspeople who sell liquor ply their trade?
In our informal survey of residents (see the voxpops on page 4), Ayanda Stemele said she felt there were too many shebeens in Grahamstown.
“Some are near schools,” she said, “so liquor licences should be more strict.”
Luwando Mxube agreed, saying too many shebeens are opening up too frequently.
Student Ayanda Maseko, however, said she believes closing down outlets is no solution:
“I think they should just tax alcohol more. Don’t restrict who can sell it because that will just create a black market,” Maseko said.
In response to questions from Grocott’s Mail, the EC Liquor Board said in statements to Ward councillors and the Board that residents do have a say in where taverns are legally permitted to operate.
“We do community engagement sessions such as community outreaches and our website, www.eclb.co.za, and our Facebook page and Twitter feed do provide such information,” said Senior Communications Officer Pumlani Fani.
Also replying to Grocott’s Mail, Board Spokesperson Mqwebi Msiya said the Eastern Cape Liquor Board was seriously concerned about liquor outlets that traded irresponsibly.
“We encourage community members to report such cases to the nearest police station or through the toll-free line 0800 000 420 which we have created with a view of helping our people report such cases,” Msiya said.
“It cannot only be during the renewal period that our people have an opportunity to deal with delinquent liquor outlets; every time they are not happy with the liquor outlet they must report that to the Liquor Board or the nearest police station for immediate action. No liquor outlet must be allowed to disturb the tranquillity of other people.”
“In order to heighten compliance, liquor traders are obliged by law to renew their liquor licences annually. The renewal period starts on October 1 until December 31 of each year, and those who miss this deadline can still renew their licences in the months of January and February of the following year,” the Board said in a statement.
“However, those who renew in January are charged a 50% late registration fee of the normal registration fee; and those who register in February are charged 100%.”