The liquor licence for Shoprite Checkers Fish Hoek has been conditionally approved by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT) and it will become the second bottle store to trade in Fish Hoek.
Last year, history was made on Tuesday June 4 as the Pick n Pay bottle store in The Arcade officially opened its doors to the public, making it the first bottle store to trade in Fish Hoek.
The year 2018 marked the 200-year anniversary of Fish Hoek being “dry” due to its historic 1818 title deed restriction, which prohibited the sale of liquor.
Western Cape Liquor Authority spokesperson, Nwabisa Mpalala, said the licence was conditionally approved on Monday March 9, meaning the applicant must meet certain conditions before the
liquor licence gets the final approval. This includes the submission of a report from a designated liquor officer, indicating whether the premises are completed according to the approved plan and the submission colour photographs that show the premises to have been completed, furnished and equipped. She could not say when the store is due to open.
The news was met with mixed emotions by Fish Hoek residents on social media, with some saying Fish Hoek residents should protest against it, as there had been an increase in “riffraff” since the opening of the first bottle store. Others however, said it would create more jobs.
Fish Hoek resident Donald Moore, who has been campaigning for years to keep Fish Hoek dry, said he was surprised to hear that the application had been approved.
He said he had lodged an objection in December last year and found out about the approval after writing to the LLT asking about the progress.
He said he was aggrieved by the decision of the LLT and had requested the reasons for the application being granted.
The Western Cape alcohol-related harms reduction policy White Paper, he said, which first appeared in 2017, states on page 30 and again on page 71 that when considering applications for any liquor licence, the type of area, including whether it is a residential area versus a business node or one that caters for tourism purposes, should be considered as well as factors such as distance from educational, health, religious or other public institutions.
He said the transition from lockdown level 4 to level 3, with the easing of the restriction on the sale of alcohol, had provided very persuasive evidence that alcohol is responsible for an overwhelming amount of harm and no good other than profits for traders.
“The evidence is there and always has been but the blind or captured administration will go on granting licences to sell liquor. I am aghast,” he said.
However, Danie Cronje from Danie Cronje Attorneys, who specialises in liquor law, said retail sales to the public were governed by
the Western Cape Liquor Act and not the national Liquor Act which only regulates large scale manufacturers and distributors of liquor.
He said provisions of the Western Cape Liquor Act state that a licence should not prejudice the activities at a school, place of worship or a facility for the elderly. The mere presence of such a facility does not prohibit the granting of a licence.
He said individuals often objected on the grounds that such a facility was near the bottle store but said objectors needed to provide evidence to show why there would be prejudice.
“One must have proper grounds to object and children are not prejudiced by looking at liquor,” he said.
He said most malls had liquor stores and children were not affected by going to a mall and seeing the liquor store.
He added that one should not confuse public interest and public opinion. It is not the same and one of the aspects taken into consideration when approving a liquor licence is the nature of business and how it will be conducted.
Fish Hoek police station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Johnson, said since the easing of lockdown, they had had one incident of driving under the influence of alcohol.
However, Dr Wendy Waddington, manager for medical services at False Bay Hospital, said there
had been a dramatic increase in alcohol-related traumas such as beatings, stabbings and motor vehicle accidents since alcohol sales were unbanned and said the cases at False Bay hospital increased from one or two cases a week to up to 20 a day.