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Fish Hoek residents furious about Pick n Pay’s bid to sell booze

| Legislation

Some residents of Cape Town’s Fish Hoek suburb, famous for not having a bottle store, are frothing at the mouth over a liquor licence application by a major retailer.

Fish Hoek is known for being a dry town. Various liquor applications in Fish Hoek have been refused over the years‚ with the courts being instrumental in upholding the ‘dry town’ status

Allen Rose-Innes‚ chairperson of the Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association‚ said they had received notice of a liquor licence application by Pick n Pay.

"Although there are now many licensed restaurants in Fish Hoek‚ Fish Hoek prides itself on being a dry town as regards retail liquor outlets," he said.

In a letter addressed to the co-owners of the local Pick n Pay‚ he listed 10 reasons a liquor store should not be opened. One of them was that alcohol delivery trucks would cause traffic congestion.

"The sale of liquor in an area in close proximity to the major transport hub (railway‚ bus and taxi) will attract undesirable elements to this area," he wrote. "There are already enough social problems associated with the sale of drugs‚ vagrancy‚ street people‚ begging without adding another potential problem in Fish Hoek."

Resident Donald Moore said the liquor licence application was not the first — others had been turned down.

"There are no bottle stores in Fish Hoek‚ which myself and a bunch of residents would like to maintain‚" he said.

Moore added that there was already a pub in town: "You walk past their premises and it smells of urine because the people drink inside there and they come out and they go into a little corner and pee. It’s exactly what we don’t want in Fish Hoek."

But the area is by no means filled with teetotallers. Residents nip into neighbouring areas to stock up on liquor.

Sally Britten‚ a volunteer at the Fish Hoek Museum‚ said the "dry town" came into existence when the land was handed to Andries Bruijns in 1818. One of the conditions was that there would be no public wine house in Fish Hoek.

Various liquor applications from hotels were refused over the years‚ dating back to 1922. The courts were instrumental in upholding the "dry town" status.

In 1963, Fish Hoek councillors‚ defenders of Fish Hoek and the ratepayers association met the former minister of justice‚ BJ Vorster‚ and asked that no further liquor licence applications be considered for at least a decade.

Fish Hoek sports club was granted a club licence in the 1970s. Eventually it was agreed that bars and restaurants could get licences.

TMG Digital

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