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Compliance can be divided into two headings.

  1. Applying for a new license or permit.
  2. Enforcing compliance on licensed premises.

At the time of application for a liquor license, the compliance is adjudged by both documentary proof and inspection reports by the compliance Inspectors.

What does “Compliance” mean?

In order to have a liquor license granted and to maintain the license, both the holder and the premises must comply with every need as described in the Act. This is a very complex subject which we will address in a follow up article.

In this article we talk about the enforcing compliance of licensed premises.

Compliance inspectors ensure compliance with the provisions of legislation by retailers and micro manufacturers of liquor. This is achieved through effective enforcement, monitoring and strategic partnerships. Compliance inspectors are based in local district offices all over KwaZulu Natal to make sure that the alcohol industry in their district is controlled and that traders comply with the KZN Liquor Licensing Act. No. 06 of 2010. Looking at the core functions of a compliance inspector, it is clear that, he/she is not the enemy of the liquor industry. Their function is purely to ensure the smooth and effective enforcement of the liquor Act.


Appointment of compliance inspectors

A compliance inspector is appointed with the authority to exercise their powers in terms of the above mentioned liquor act. All the appointed compliance inspectors are issued with certificates that confirms that he/she has been appointed as a compliance inspector. This certificate is enough evidence of the compliance inspector’s authority. The compliance inspectors must be able to present his/her certificate on demand by the person/s being inspected.

The functions of compliance inspectors are to ensure compliance by the following means:

  • Investigate complaints.
  • Conduct inspections:
    • To monitor and enforce compliance with the liquor act – routine visits or blitz visits.
    • In respect of new applications, in terms of section 41,52 and 55 which is required in the liquor act when applying for an on-consumption or off-consumption liquor license and micro manufacturing license as well as before and during a special event.
    • During the processes regards to the yearly renewal of a license in terms of section 64.
  • Any other matter directed by the liquor authority.

The powers of compliance inspectors, that allows them to ensure compliance.

A compliance inspector may enter any premises without a warrant and with or without the presence of a member of the South African Police. This may be in the following circumstances:

  • With the consent of the owner or person apparently in control of that premises.
  • A licensed premises on a routine basis to determine the compliance with the terms and conditions of the license.
  • For the purpose of determining whether any outstanding compliance notices issued in terms of section 89 has been complied with.
  • Any premises, if authorized to do so by any other law.

Before commencing an inspection the inspector must identify him or herself, furnish proof of appointment and explain his or her authority, the compliance inspector may do the following:

  • Question any person present on the premises.
  • Question any person whom the inspector believes may have information relevant to the inspection.
  • Inspect any documents that is required to be maintained by the liquor act or any other law.
  • Copy any of above documents or remove the documents from the premises in order to make copies.
  • Take samples of any substance that is relevant to the inspection.
  • Take photographs or make audio-visual recordings of anything.
  • Remove, with the assistance of a police officer from the South African Police, any liquor that may furnish proof of a contravention of any provision of the liquor Act.

An inspector that removes anything other than samples of substance must issue a receipt and secure the goods pending a decision concerning forfeiture in terms of the liquor act, section 96(3).


Complaints and Compliance notice

During a routine inspection or an inspection due to a complaint, that was lodged with the liquor authorities, or when the compliance officer is of the opinion that the license person or permit holder:

  • has breached the terms and conditions of a license or permit.
  • has failed to comply with all the conditions set out in the Liquor Act.

In such a case the compliance officer issue and serve, a Compliance Notice upon the permit holder or any person in control of the licensed premises.

A compliance notice must stipulate the following:

  • Which provisions of the Act or conditions of the license or permit must be complied with.
  • The nature and extent of the non-compliance.
  • What must be done in order to comply.
  • The date by which compliance must be completed.
  • Possible consequences if still non-compliance by the date stipulated, which may include the cancellation of license or permit

Compliance inspection.

A compliance notice remains in force as stipulated in the notice. In the case (during inspection) the liquor outlet does comply to the demands of the notice, the compliance inspector will issue a Certificate of Compliance. The person that was served with the compliance notice may ask for the inspection date to be extended. If the reasons for the time extension request are reasonable, and deemed valid by the compliance inspector, he/she may extend the period of compliance. The time extension is done by the issuing an amended compliance notice.

Objections to compliance inspection.

An objection may be lodged by the person to which the compliance notice was served. This must be lodged in the prescribed manner and clearly state the grounds for objecting. The objection together with the compliance notice, and any other documents the compliance inspector deems relevant, must be submitted by the inspector to the liquor authorities. Using the procedure set out in section (44) of the Liquor Act. the liquor authority decide whether or not the compliance notice is justified.

Compliance objections hearing.

The Liquor Authorities may decide that the compliance notice, is unjustified. In such an event the compliance inspector issue a certificate of compliance. On the other hand, if the Liquor Authority find the compliance notice to be justified, a date to comply by will be determined.

At the end of the time given to the person/business to comply or rectify the breach, an objection hearing will be called. During the objection hearing the compliance inspector submits a comprehensive report. This report indicates the person/business current compliance status, to the liquor authorities.

  • If the compliance order at that time complies, the liquor authority issues a certificate of compliance.
  • If the compliance order are not complied with, the liquor authorities may forthwith cancel the license or permit.

With no objection lodged.

In the event that no objection was lodged and the person on whom the compliance notice was served failed to comply with the compliance notice. In such a case the compliance inspector submits all related documents and the compliance notice to the liquor authority for consideration.

At this time the liquor authority may cancel the license/permit. When such a decision is reached, the liquor authority notifies the license/permit holder in writing. This communication’s purpose is to provide all the reasons for the cancellation of the license/permit.


The core functions of an inspector as set out on the KZN Liquor Authorities page

Visit the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority page for additional information:

  • Provide support in the license application process.
  • To implement an effective and efficient compliance and enforcement process.
  • To implement strategies to engage stakeholder on issues of non-compliance.
  • Conduct routine inspections of liquor premises and compilation of inspection reports.
  • Plan annual blitz in consultation with SAPS.
  • Compile trend analysis, issue compliance notices, compliance certificates and compile a list of dormant licenses.
  • Receive and investigate complaints.
  • Convene Compliance Forum meetings.
  • Facilitate meetings with industry players.
Compliance Inspectors


Compliance is a topic made-up from many parts. This article is the first part, more articles with regards to Compliance with the Liquor Act. are coming soon.

If you landed on this page because you are currently facing a Compliance Issue, do not hesitate to contact us by leaving a message HERE.

1 thought on “All You Need To Know About Compliance Inspectors.”

  1. Renier van den Berg

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