The beleaguered Gauteng Liquor Board has lost nearly 50% of the legal cases brought against it in the past five years – most of which have to do with the entity not complying with its own mandate.
According to Gauteng Economic Development MEC, Lebogang Maile, in the past five years the Liquor Board has been involved in 49 legal cases of which it has lost 24.
The majority of the cases that the entity has lost involve regulatory and compliance issues in the granting of special licenses, delays in applications as well as review decisions of the board.
These failed cases have resulted in the granting of 29 liquor licenses to parties who had initially been turned down by the board.
It startlingly clear that the board’s lawyers do not understand the mandate of the entity and have frivolously wasted Gauteng residents’ money on non-issues. From the numerous complaints that the DA has received about the Liquor Board, it appears that most of the time their lawyers fail to appear in court to defend cases.
The DA has come to reliably learn that the board has been riding roughshod over legislation and has acted with impunity when granting licenses.
The current CEO of the board is facing a charge of contempt of court, while hundreds of applications have simply been put on the back-burner.
There are also entities trading liquor despite clearly not adhering to the prescriptions of the Gauteng Liquor Act.
The DA is currently looking into the issues of non-compliance as well as the haphazard approach the board has taken in granting some licenses while holding others back.
MEC Maile must probe the Liquor Board for its blatant abuse of power, as its current actions are not only prohibiting honest business from setting up shop, it also allows potential illegal traders a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.