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The liquor law in the Western Cape and your events

Tash FourieEvent Planning, Everything, Food & Drink

All you need to know about liquor licences.

The Liquor law and events in the Western Cape: what you need to know for event liquor licences.


There are a multitude of liquor licences that one can apply for but the one we are going to look at for the purposes of this article is the Event licence. It’s this type of Liquor licence that will enable you to sell liquor at your event.

Many event organisers find the task of applying for a liquor licence rather overwhelming, and lets be honest - it is quite a thing if you’re applying for the first time. There are more forms and rules and regulations than you could shake a stick at, so we thought we’d get stuck in and help simplify this for you.

Before you start...

To start off there are 5 key points that you need to know before starting the process:

  1. Deadline: There is a deadline! This deadline can be confusing but to put it in simple english, you need to ensure there are 40 days BETWEEN the date you submit the licence and the date your event begins.
  2. Liquor & Event licence: Your liquor licence and event licence go hand in hand! You can’t apply for a liquor licence without having already applied for your event licence.
  3. Fees: The fees for a licence are R350 per day that you sell liquor at an event in the Western Cape.
  4. DLO report: This is a report that you will get from the local SAPS in the area your event is being held, you will need to submit all licensing documents to the Liquor officer for this report.
  5. Liquor trading times: The times you may trade are restricted to 10am – 2am unless your liquor licence states “the trading hours will be as determined by the local authority”.

Getting it done

Okay so let’s get into the process itself. The following is the step by step process on how to apply for an event liquor licence with all the forms and supporting documents required. Bear with us because this is where you may start to feel stressed and find yourself searching for a towel to dry your sweaty palms on:

First you will need to ensure your event application has been applied for at the local municipality or City of Cape Town events department (depending on where your event is being held). Relatively simple start.

Next, you will need to fill in Form 9 and Form 15 and get your supporting documents ready.

Supporting documents

The following is a checklist of the supporting documents that you will need for this phase. But, in order to help a little, we’re going to go into a little more detail about the supporting documents as they can be quite confusing… It’s the least we can do 🙂

A.  Comprehensive floor plan of the premises

  • Your comprehensive floor plan will have 2 essential parts to it.
  • Part 1 is your bar area layout, detailing the size of you bar area, where your stock will be held, the size of the consumption area, nearest exit, size of your bar counters and serving areas.
  • Part 2 is your event layout, for example at an outdoor festival you need to indicate where your stage, toilets, tents, medics etc are on a map. Also indicate your bar & consumption areas.

B.  Site plan

  • On the site plan, you’ll first need to describe the premises and then show a detailed map with your layout of the event areas, how the traffic will move and park etc. In our experience dipping the map in tea and burning the edges does not impress the peeps down at the licence department, FYI.

C.  Aerial view map

  • Show an aerial map of your venue, clearly indicating the event venue.

D.  Indexed colour photographs

  • These need to show off your intended bar area.

E.  Description of the premises

  • This is where you clearly describe your venue and why it is suitable for your event.

F.  Written representations in support of the application

  • For the support document, you need to outline how your event will have an impact on the surrounding community, basically why it’s a good thing for them to allow you to have the event at that venue. Heads up: Saying “because this town could use a little pepping up” won't work too well. 😉

G.  Proof of payment of the applicable application fee – refer to the fees breakdown.

H.  A certified copy of the identity card or document, or the passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the applicant if the applicant is a foreigner, or, in the case of an applicant other than a natural person, copies of the relevant registration documents, indicating the identity and, where applicable, the financial interest of all members, directors, partners, beneficiaries or trustees.

I.  Other documents required in the Act or required by the Authority.

J.  Affidavit by the applicant that he or she is not disqualified in terms of Section 35 of the Western Cape Liquor Act from holding a liquor licence – refer to the affidavit template.

K.  Proof of ownership of the proposed licensed premises or, if the applicant is not the owner, written consent from the owner of the proposed licensed premises that the applicant may use the proposed licensed premises for the purposes of the licence applied for.

  • For this you can use the lease agreement created between you and the venue owner if you are hiring a venue.

L.  A nomination for the appointment of a manager in accordance with regulation 22.

Once you have completed all of this you can submit it to the local SAPS along with your event application so they can write a DLO report.

You will also need to go to the local municipality or City of Cape Town, and submit a copy of your event application to them. So make sure to make copies.

When you want to submit to the Liquor board, you will need to have a copy stamped by the local municipality and the local SAPS before you can submit to the liquor board.

Without sounding facetious, that really is all you need. Once you’ve got one or two of the steps down, the whole process unfolds pretty painlessly. So stick to it and when you're ready to talk about your ticketing needs, we can help with that, too. And if you're looking for more resources, be sure to check out our ultimate list of South African event suppliers.

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