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Obtaining liquor licences seems to be an uphill battle

Many restaurants and other business that want to sell alcohol and related products are waiting months to be granted liquor licences.

MBOMBELA – Setting up a business in the entertainment sector in Mbombela has proven to be a time-consuming and frustrating process for a number of outlets in town. Many restaurants and other business that want to sell alcohol and related products are waiting months to be granted liquor licences. The proprietor of a newly launched pub in Mbombela, who spoke to Lowvelder on condition of anonymity to avoid victimisation, said they have been trying to obtain their licence for eight months now.

“It has been eight long months during which I have spent somewhere in the region of R2 850 on advertising, police clearance, paying for a Certificate of Acceptability and submitting my building plans to the Liquor Board,” he said.

“While the costs are escalating, it appears to me that there is no process in place which informs business owners which steps to follow in order to expedite the process.”

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“Each day that passes with more delays means fewer feet through our doors and zero income generation.”

Another liquor-related business owner said the experience taught her which pitfalls to avoid and what steps to take in order to speed up the process.

The Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (MER) highlighted that there were three role players involved in the issuing of liquor licences. They are the local municipality, SAPS and MER.

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The municipality provides comment on the suitability of the premises in terms of land use rights or the zoning of the premises. MER executive communications manager, Cedrick Chiloane, said the local municipality plays a vital role in the public participation process, wherein public comments or objections in response to the applications are lodged.

He added that SAPS’ role is to provide comment on the suitability of the applicant to hold a licence in terms of their criminal record, associations and related activities. MER collates all the information and will consider the application, along with any objections lodged and will grant or deny any application based on the above.

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The MER did not provide information regarding the expected time frames for applications to be approved and how many applications they received.

“It should be noted that each application is evaluated on its own unique circumstances and merits, and with due consideration to whether the applicant is not disqualified in terms of the act, the application fee has been paid, the applicant is a suitable person to be issued with a licence, the municipality concerned supports the application, and the granting of the licence is in the public interest with due regard to the proximity of the premises concerned to, inter alia, educational institutions, public roads or religious institutions,” Chiloane said.

Feature image supplied: CoffeeGeek


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