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In terms of the Liquor Act, shebeen and tavern owners have to apply for special liquor licenses in order to legalise their businesses. It is illegal to sell liquor unless you have a liquor license granted by the Liquor Board.

Who may apply for a liquor licence

You can apply for a liquor license unless you:

How to apply for a liquor license

You can apply for a liquor license through a lawyer or a liquor consultant or you can apply in your personal capacity.

The application form is known as FORM 1.

The application should be typed and not hand-written.

Include details to support your application, such as proof of occupation. Also include details of the premises, such as photos and a floor plan.

The prescribed application fee must be paid to the local office of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and proof of payment should be attached to the application.

The application form should be forwarded to the Magistrate in the district where the premises is situated.

The application will eventually be forwarded to the Liquor Board.

The Liquor Board will consider each application in terms of the applicant, the premises and the public interest.

There are 2 types of licenses:

On-consumption License

It permits the sale and consumption of liquor on licensed premises such as hotels, clubs, theatres and restaurants

Off-consumption License

It permits the sale of liquor that is going to be consumed off the premises such as shops, liquor producers and liquor stores

Once a license is obtained, the licensee may appoint another person to run the business on his/her behalf, as long as that person is not disqualified from holding a liquor license.

The license must be renewed each year on payment in advance (by 31 December of the previous year), of the prescribed fee.

Failure to pay the annual fees on time will result in the lapse of the license and the trader will have to re-apply for the license.

If the licensed premises cause disorder, the neighbours may lodge a complaint.

The police will take steps against the trader.

If the problem persists the Liquor Board may hold a hearing and place conditions on the license or withdraw/suspend the license.


Download A National Liquor Act 59 of 2003 [pdf]Be Legal - Shebeens