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The National Liquor Act and the Regulations

Why a new National Liquor Act?

The Liquor Act 59 of 2003 came into effect on 13 August 2004. Before proclamation, provincial Liquor Authorities were responsible for the regulation of all the value chain categories of the Liquor Industry. The Act provides for the manufacturing and distribution of liquor to be regulated at national level while micro manufacturing and retailing continue to be regulated at provincial level.

A new National Liquor Authority (NLA), housed in the Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division of the dti, is responsible for administration of the Act. The NLA will receive, evaluate and recommend to the Minister applications for national manufacturing and distribution licenses and related matters.

A National Liquor Policy Council, comprising the Minister of Trade and Industry and relevant Members of the Executive Council of the provinces, will formulate and co-ordinate policies and embody co-operative governance.

An important aspect of the new Act is social responsibility. Those wishing to register must set out their commitment to black economic empowerment, and their proposed contribution to combating alcohol abuse, as well as how they will restrict or promote job creation, diversity of ownership, exports, competition, new entrants to the industry and efficiency of operation. Failing to meet these commitments can result in a review of or placing new conditions on registration.

The liquor Act 59 of 2003 repeals the 1989 Act only in those provinces that have promulgated provincial liquor legislation (Currently Eastern Cape and Gauteng). The Liquor Act of 1989 remains in force in provinces that have not promulgated liquor legislation. As from 13 August 2004 provincial liquor authorities can no longer regulate activities of distributors and manufacturers whose liquor volumes meet or exceed the set thresholds. Applications received by provincial liquor authorities before this new Act must be disposed of by them in terms of the 1989 Liquor Act.