Despite objections from ratepayers, the application for an extension of liquor trading hours by Cubana in Somerset Road, Green Point, from 2am until 4am, has been approved by the Western Cape Liquor Board.
This was confirmed at the Sub-council 16 meeting held on Monday November 16.
The application for extended hours for 2019/20 was initially refused by the sub-council but granted on appeal.
While the extension is effective immediately, it will only apply after lockdown.
According to Disaster Management Act regulations for Alert level 1, people are confined to their homes from midnight until 4am.
In their application, Cubana said their peak hours are from 11pm until 3.30am, especially on weekends, and if they cannot trade during this time, it will have a detrimental effect on business. The said many medium to small business enterprises specifically in the restaurant and tourist industries have been financially destroyed resulting in loss of employment opportunities.
They said their business must be given every opportunity to continue after the lockdown. “In the event that Cubana would not be able to trade between 2am and 4am, it will have a serious impact on their ability to operate a profitable business,” they said.
Although the neighbouring businesses stated to have no problem with the application, residents and ratepayers objected to this application.
In their objections, De Waterkant Civic Association (DWCA) stated that the extension of trading hours would have an impact on the surrounding environment.
They said they continue to receive complaints relating to Cubana, including traffic congestion and noise from hooting and revving cars late in the night.
“On several occasions, residents have reported hearing screaming and fighting outside their properties, particularly as Cubana clients are seen leaving in the early hours of the morning,” they said.
Sub-council 16 manager Girshwin Fouldien said they do not have the delegation to approve liquor licence applications, but they can merely comment on the application.
Chairman of the DWCA, Gary de Klerk said they are shocked and disappointed by the Western Cape Liquor Board’s decision to extend Cubana’s current liquor licence from 2am until 4am.
“Years of documented evidence and complaints submitted by both residents and businesses, most of which are tourist accommodation establishments, show that Cubana is unable to manage the impact of intoxicated patrons when leaving the venue at all hours, and specifically patrons leaving (or arriving) after midnight,” he said.
He said intoxicated customers behave in an anti-social and disruptive manner, with an extensive number of reports of urinating, vomiting, and even defecating against neighbourhood properties and on pavements.
“The WC Liquor Board appears to have completely ignored and dismissed the DWCA ratepayers’ objections, the massive adverse impact it will have on residents and visitors, ecclesiastical and social community services in the immediate vicinity, the objection process and also the accurate and written record of anti-social and often violent and dangerous criminal activity outside the venue,” he said.
Cubana, through William Booth Attorneys, argued that if there had been many complaints, the DWCA would have had details of the numbers of such complaints that they have received, specifically the noise complaint forms being completed by residents and furnished to them and the City. They stated: “The fact that they do not do so but that their complaint is submitted in general and broad statements can lead one to the only reasonable inference that there are no recordal of complaints because there are no such complaints.”
They added that the experience of their client has been that it had become the norm for residents to blame Cubana for any problem that arises in the surrounding area and even other parts of De Waterkant and Green Point without the complainants investigating whether the problem emanated from Cubana.