Western Cape passes its first piece of legislation -The Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill

Speech by Beverley Schäfer, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:

The 5th Western Cape Provincial Parliament today passed its first piece of legislation, The Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill. The following speech was delivered by Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, responsible for passing the legislation.

No law is perfect. Laws are made to create a framework within which society can operate. However as we go along, we may find that laws need to be amended to suit the way society operates. Laws should be continuously reviewed and amended. So today I would like to talk to a piece of legislation that has needed to change.

We believe that these amendments to the Bill is a great start to facilitate transformation of the liquor industry in the Western Cape, by promoting the entry of new licence holders and aim to ensure the responsible use of liquor.

Changes that would see an increase in operational capacity, streamline operations and address practical operational challenges of the Western Cape Liquor Authority by, for example:

  • To address backlog and an increase in the demand of licenses, it allows for the increase in the number of Deputy Presiding Officers
  • Allowing for an optional bi-annual liquor licence renewal cycle;
  • The committee felt that far more law enforcement was necessary and so we welcomed the inclusion of peace officers in the enforcement of the provincial liquor law
  • And as events continue to grow in the Province, to make provision of event liquor licenses

As the amendments were largely technical in nature and did not touch on wide ranging policy issues, the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture unanimously supported the amendments. We believe that it will further streamline the process of liquor licensing in the Western Cape and address the practical challenges experienced in the implementation and operationalisation of the principal Act.

The Western Cape Liquor amendment Bill was referred to our Standing Committee on 1st July 2015 for consideration and reporting. Public Hearings were conducted in George, Robertson and Cape Town. In fact, the hearings held in Cape Town saw a record 153 people in attendance for any set of public hearings held by this Parliament.

We believe that the high attendance at all our hearings was largely due to the efforts made by the Public Outreach and Education Unit that assisted the public with submissions. For that I would like to thank them.

The Standing Committee deliberated the contents of the Bill and took into consideration both written and verbal inputs made. The Committee completed the formal consideration of the Bill on the 16th October 2015.

I would like to thank the committee coordinators for their dedication and hard work as they took us through the process. Equally important to thank is the Advocate Botha from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism who has always been so accommodating and willing to ensure that all our concerns and queries were answered.

Thank you to the WCape Liquor Board and the Liquor Licensing Tribunal for engaging with the Standing committee when invited to do so.

As Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture I recommend to this House, the acceptance of the 5th Parliament’s first  Bill – Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill B3 -2015.