Friday, 13 March 2015

Liquor License = Property?

Liquor Act -   Can a Liquor Licence be seen to be "property" - as defined in the Constitution?   To most people, it would seem to be a strange idea to think of a licence as property.   Isn't a licence only a "permission" or a "right to trade", which is confirmed by a piece of paper issued by a liquor board?
Well, the Eastern Cape High Court ruled in 2014 that the definition of "property" in the Constitution is "wide" enough to allow for the inclusion of a liquor licence as "property".   It therefore ruled that a section of the Eastern Cape Liquor Act was unconstitutional.  
The Reason - the Eastern Cape Liquor Act determined that grocers' liquor licences would lapse 10 years after the Act came in to effect - 14 May 2004.   Licence holders could re-apply for their licences within 5 years of the Liquor Act coming into force.   The 10 year - period was about to pass, which spurred a licence holder on to ask the High Court to intervene in April 2014.   The licence holder stood to lose sales of R40 million per year and the state would lose VAT of R2 million.
The High Court therefore gave the licence holders permission to trade in the meantime, while awaiting the decision of the Constitutional Court.   

(Article by SAPA, edited by The Licence Co)

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