public drinking
Consuming alcohol in public is a crime and guilty parties can be prosecuted

Public drinking seems to be a daily occurrence in Mkhondo, but what does the Mpumalanga Liquor Licensing Act say about public drinking?

Section 5 of 2006 of the Mpumalanga Liquor Licensing Act, under article 59, clearly states the following: 59. Offences in general (1) Any person who – (a) sells any liquor or micro-manufactures liquor otherwise than under a licence issued in terms of this Act; (b) is violent, drunk or disorderly on any premises on which liquor may by virtue of this Act be sold; (c) is drunk in or on or near – (i) any road, street, lane, thoroughfare, square, park or market (ii) any shop, warehouse or public garage or (iii) any place of entertainment cafe, eating-house or race-course or any other premises or place to which the public has or is granted access, irrespective of whether access is granted against payment or is restricted to any category of person or not (d) subject to subsection (2), consumes any liquor in any road, street, lane or thoroughfare, or on vacant land adjacent thereto in an urban area or other area subdivided into portions or plots with streets bounded by such portions or plots. Furthermore, this Act also states that a person not adhering to these rules, may be liable to a fine or imprisonment. 66.

Penalties Any person, who contravenes any provision of this Act, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine as may be determined from time to time or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and imprisonment. The question now remains – why is lawful action not taken against community members for public drinking if it is clearly stated in the Mpumalanga Liquor Licensing Act?

On previous occasions, the Excelsior News has been informed that Mkhondo’s bylaws are not gazetted and therefore, they cannot do anything about people consuming alcohol in public. After further investigation, it was found that a town’s bylaws do not have any effect on the Provisional Law of any province in South Africa. All citizens fall under the law of their province and thereafter, under their town or city’s bylaws.

In the event that a town does not have bylaws, all citizens must adhere to the provincial law, which is above any bylaw decided by a town’s municipality. Research was done about cases in Mkhondo were individuals received fines for drinking in public. At time of going to press, the information had not been received. When it is received, a follow-up article will be published to inform the community of the punishment that may await you if you get caught for drinking in public.