Historic Decision Ends 200 Years Of No Bottle Stores In Fish Hoek

For the last two centuries, the seaside town of Fish Hoek in Cape Town has been prohibited from having a bottle store. Here’s why.

A historic decision by the Western Cape Liquor Appeal Tribunal last week has ended 200 years of Fish Hoek having no bottle store.

Gary Williams and Julian Hobson, owners of the Pick n Pay franchise in the town, appealed the decision of June this year to refuse them a liquor licence for a separate bottle store. This decision has now been overturned by the Appeal Tribunal meaning that Williams and Hobson can start selling alcohol in Fish Hoek Arcade as of 2019.

Restriction from selling alcohol

Up to this point, alcohol has only been sold in restaurants in the area. This is because of a 200-year-old restriction in the title deeds of all Fish Hoek properties which reads “dat hy aldaar geen tapneering zal mogen drijven”. This has generally been translated into English as “not keep a public wine house” on the property, however a new interpretation by Prof Dr JC Conradie, a retired professor of Afrikaans linguistics from Johannesburg University, and presented by liquor lawyer Danie Cronje of Danie Cronje Attorneys argues that this restriction actually applies to on-consumption only. As such, Fish Hoek’s 9 other liquor licence holders (1 hotel, 6 restaurants and 2 restaurants/pubs) were really the ones intended by the original restrictions and since they have been trading for many years, this removes any reason for a refusal in respect of an off-consumption licence as well.

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