It was a victory for residents of Sea Point and the Western Cape when a petrol station was denied a liquor licence. So says Caro Smit, director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving.
Last year the Sea Point Fresnaye Bantry Bay (SFB) Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association objected to an application for a Pick n Pay convenience store at a BP petrol station in Regent Road to sell alcohol (“SFB to oppose petrol station’s liquor licence application”, Atlantic Sun, September 23, 2021).
“It is a small victory,” said Ms Smit.
“It shows the power of the public, the power of citizens to say we don’t accept this and we have a voice, and our voice has been heard in that we don’t need more alcohol sales outlets. We hope that this means that the Western Cape will not give a pass to other petrol stations to have liquor licences.”
SFB vice-chairperson, Dr Lydia Abel, added: “We notified the residents and ratepayers and to inform them about the issues and complications at stake and to encourage them to respond to the application individually and as groups.”
Ward 54 councillor Nicola Jowell who added her support to the objection of the liquor licence application, said there had been applications from convenience stores located at petrol stations across the province.
“Convenience shops at petrol stations are an important part of our economy and provide a vital service to the community as well as employ many people.
“However, we just cannot see that liquor is considered a convenience item and sold in this manner. In addition to that, it should never be that we link alcohol so directly with a place that is designated for drivers, in a country with such poor adherence to the legislation when it comes to drinking and driving,” said Ms Jowell.
Ms Jowell thanked the SFB, SADD and members of the public for objecting to the application as well.
“I think this is a good reminder that we need to follow the steps and object with sound reasoning to issues of concern.
“When we can object with reference to the legislation and point out how something is in conflict with the legislation and the general benefit to society then we have a solid stance for having our objections heard. I am by no means against the issuing (of liquor licences) or selling of alcohol but there are appropriate places and those that are not, and this is the latter,” she said.
According to a statement from the Western Cape Liquor Authority, by July 4, 12 liquor licence applications associated with petrol stations and lodged since November 2020 had been considered.
“Nine of these have been refused and three have been postponed. The unsuccessful applicants have the right to lodge appeals against the decision of the Liquor Licensing Tribunal,” said Simion George, CEO of the Western Cape Liquor Authority.
The WCLA added that it required the Liquor Licensing Tribunal (the Tribunal) to be satisfied – on a balance of probabilities – that the granting of the licence was in the public interest and sets out criteria to be considered before a licence is granted.
“The application process provides the opportunity for local communities and interested parties to comment on an application under consideration,” said Mr George.
He added that the outlined process had been followed in the case of the Sea Point petrol station application, and objections, comments and input received had been given to the applicant.
The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance said they were pleased with the decision not to grant this licence.
“We do not believe petrol stations should sell alcohol anywhere in South Africa and will continue to oppose such applications. South Africa needs to reduce alcohol harm and should petrol stations begin selling liquor, it will in fact increase road fatalities,” said SAAPA spokesperson Terri-Liza Fortein.
At the time of going to print there was no response from the petrol station or convenience store.