Investigate liquor board‚ DA urges Maile

30 October 2017 - 16:03 By Penwell Dlamini
Lebogang Maile.
Lebogang Maile.
Image: Mabuti Kali © Sowetan

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng has called on MEC for economic development Lebogang Maile to investigate why it takes legal action from some of the businesses in the province to secure licences from the Gauteng Liquor Board to trade.

In his reply to a question in the Gauteng legislature submitted last week‚ Maile said 49 legal cases were brought against the Gauteng Liquor Board in the past five financial years.

The liquor board lost 24 of the cases lodged against it.

Maile added that there were 29 liquor licences which were granted as a result of legal cases and “one licence granted as a result of the default judgment”.

“The DA has come to reliably learn that the board has been riding roughshod over legislation and has acted with impunity when granting licences. The current CEO of the board is facing a charge of contempt of court‚ while hundreds of applications have simply been put on the back-burner.

“There are also entities trading liquor despite clearly not adhering to the prescriptions of the Gauteng Liquor Act. The DA is currently looking into the issues of non-compliance as well as the haphazard approach the board has taken in granting some licences while holding others back.

“MEC Maile must probe the Liquor Board for its blatant abuse of power‚ as its current actions are not only prohibiting honest business from setting up shop‚ it also allows potential illegal traders a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card‚” said DA MPL Janet Semple.

An annexure submitted with Maile’s response showed that most of the legal cases were about the board’s decision not to grant applicants a liquor licence.

Among the companies that took the board to court are tavern owners‚ big retailers like Pick n Pay and Shoprite Checkers‚ pubs‚ restaurants‚ ratepayer associations and body corporates.