ANC Birthday Bash

EDIT: 16:40 PM ON THE JANUARY 2017

Later news on the late hours situation is that the Sowetan was incorrect and in a subsequent article on News 24 with a quote from the Chairman of the Liquor Board the Board has not extended the hours or varied the conditions of any licences. I am still excited to see the discussion and cross pollination of ideas between the public officials.

The officials are being realistic and following the public opinion. For a change they are possibly even ahead of the wave of public concepts and thought. This is invigorating and brings vibrancy into the stuffy atmosphere of a musty Provincial office.

Liquor remains a dangerous product and the conditions which the Chairman clearly has in mind considers this in his decisions. However he is weighing up the requirements of the traders, the public and the political parties.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

News broke yesterday on the Sowetan Live website that the MEC for Economic Development was working with the Gauteng Liquor Board to relax the restrictions on the trading of liquor in Gauteng from the 6th – 8th January. This period falls over the ANC’s 105-year anniversary party that is to be held at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

If you would like more information, here is a link to the article.

The attitude of the MEC for Economic Development and the Gauteng Liquor Board regarding the late trading hours for the ANC bash is extremely interesting. It also shows out-of-the-box thinking by the Government officials which is nice to see and very welcome from the perspective of liquor traders in Gauteng and throughout South Africa.

Obviously some restrictions remain in place and the conditions of the original Gauteng Liquor Licence must still be adhered to by the trader, but those that wish to apply can extend their trading hours over this weekend only.

The department has explained that: “Applicants for the weekend pass will be required to provide to the GLB an undertaking that the premises shall be gun-free and that the noise levels generated from the premises will not cause unacceptable disturbance or nuisance to neighbours”.

Clearly a decision was taken to grant late liquor trading hours and with that decision taken, the legalities were examined and a method was found to bring the practical scenario within the ambit of the legislation. This is both challenging and refreshing. I applaud the parties involved.

A similar attitude has been taken by the Mpumalanga Liquor Board as a vehicle to extend its trading hours subject to the consent of the local Municipality in each case.

It is extremely important to realise that the steps taken by both of these boards reflects the public opinion that is often vocal in calling for later nights out partying and enjoying themselves.

This move is an example of one where the authorities are now bringing the legislation in line with public opinion rather than forcing public opinion to be limited by the boundaries of the legislation. This is in startling contrast to part of the Liquor Policy Document and to the new proposed amendments to the Gauteng and other Provincial Liquor Acts including the restriction of liquor licences in residential areas, near schools, near churches etc.

I am left feeling optimistic by this decision by the Gauteng Liquor Board and the MEC, and I hope that the MEC will approach the Central Government with his thinking and have them reconsider the restrictions which they appear to want to introduce on advertising of liquor, location of premises and the imposition of other restrictions.

Well done to the Minister.

 

 

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