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Can I object to a new liquor store opening up?
14 July 2019

“I have seen an application in our local newspaper for a new liquor store to open in our neighbourhood. There are already two liquor outlets close to us. This store will be very close to my church and the school my grandson attends. Our church is also of the view that there are too many liquor outlets in our area. Another liquor store is completely unnecessary. How can we stop this store from opening up?”

A liquor licence allows an individual or business to manufacture or distribute liquor. There are various different liquor licences that can be applied for, with the type of licence granted determining the right to make, distribute or sell liquor.

There are a number of regulatory bodies or authorities nationally that are responsible for the issuing of liquor licences. A full list can be found at https://www.thedti.gov.za/business_regulation/nla_regulatory_bodies.jsp. It is also the relevant authority’s responsibility to ensure that the outlets that sell liquor are operating in compliance with the law and that no individual sells liquor without a valid licence or to underage children. 

For the owner to open a new liquor store, the owner will have to meet the requirements of the relevant authority within which jurisdiction the store will be operated in order to obtain the necessary licence to sell liquor to the public. To do so, the owner will have to indicate aspects such as the location of the store and details of the store structure as well as provide a written motivation why he should receive a licence. He will typically also have to indicate whether there are any schools or places of worship near the intended store location. The relevant liquor authority will also have to receive reports from a liquor inspector, the local municipality and the SAPS. These reports will assist the liquor authority to decide whether the granting of the liquor licence to the store is in the public interest or not. 

On the other hand the public is also afforded the opportunity to oppose the awarding of a liquor licence by submitting objections to the issuing of a licence. Members of the community, companies or institutions are allowed to object to the granting of the licence. An objection can be made in the form of an affidavit, a statement, a letter or even an email. The important aspect is that it should provide the full particulars of the person or entity objecting and should state the reasons for the objection and be filed within the required time-frames contained in the notice published in the in Provincial Gazette and local newspaper with the relevant liquor authority. The liquor authority will then consider all objections received as part of its process of considering whether to grant the liquor licence or not.

In your situation it does appear that there may be grounds to object to the liquor licence being granted. It may be advisable to prepare objections from the community to submit within the required time-frames. It may even be prudent to consult with a liquor law specialist to help you in formulating your objections for submission to the liquor authority.


Tags: Liquor