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Liquor Licensing Procedure

In this post we take a look at the Liquor Licensing Procedure. We go through the same steps that a Liquor License Application have to pass, for approval. In this post we take on-consumption and off-consumption application types into consideration. The process end with a decision made by the liquor board.

We look at the following parts of the procedure:

  • Prerequisites for liquor license application.
  • The function of the liquor licensing and administration business.
  • Lodging a liquor license application.
  • Inspections included in the liquor licensing procedure.
  • Liquor license application approval, as part of the process.
  • The Conclusion.

Prerequisites for liquor license application.

To obtaining a liquor license can be a hard process, therefore experience taught us well. As a result we created our procedure. The objective is to streamline and optimize the entire liquor license application process. By working this way, our clients save costs and have peace of mind.


When you decide to use us as your consultant, we start by screening the proposed applicant and premises. The result of the screening gives us an accurate prediction, of the chances of success.

See our article on our website as to how to establish compliance.

Without too much effort we establish if, it will be worth to continue with the application. In some cases, we advise our clients on obvious problem areas and fixes. Once the mentioned adjustments are made, your application will be in good shape for approval. At this point we start the Liquor License Application process.


This part of the procedure we call discover. During an arranged meeting, we give you a list stating which documents you need to furnish us with. At the same time we conduct a comprehensive interview with the proposed applicant. The purpose of the interview is to gather all the required non-documented information. This information is used later to create many other parts of the application eg. A Curriculum Vitae, Motivation and more.


At the end of the discovery process we move on to the compiling stage. During this phase we bring together all the information and reduce everything to writing. We may still at this point ask you for more related information. Click here to see a post on requirements. At the end of this part of the procedure, your application will be close to ready for lodging.

Reference number

Each new action started with the liquor authority, starts by entering the system with a reference number. As soon as the reference number is issued, a payment is made to the liquor authority. This payment is known as the Lodgment Fee.


Now geared with a reference number and the compiled digital copy of the application, we are left with the commissioning and certification of all copied documents. This action requires the original documents and copies to be presented to a Commissioner of Oaths. The Commissioner of Oaths compare, stamp and sign the newly made copies.


Exact copies of the application must go to different places,  meaning a single copy is not enough. Each application including various attachments usually come to more than 70 pages. We pr,int  and bind five (5) copies of the liquor license application.

Ready to lodge

An application can only be lodged on a Friday. This mean we wait for the next Friday to lodge the liquor license application, with the respective authorities.

The Liquor Licensing and Administration Business

Once the application is lodged a special unit at the Liquor Authorities offices called The Liquor Licensing and Administration Business handles the application. They provide a core function of the Liquor Authority.  It is the largest Unit of the Entity with a staff complement of 32 and is responsible for all matters pertaining to licensing. The Unit has a physical visible presence in all the Municipal Districts of the Province, making easy accessibility for its existing and potential clients.

Here is a link to KZN Liquor Authority: Home

The function of the liquor licensing and administration business

  • Receive, process, check and prepare all types of liquor license applications for consideration by the Board.
  • Provide reference numbers to applicants for payment of lodgment fees.
  • Manage the Call Center.
  • Manage the district offices.
  • Manage registry section.
  • Prepare application for the Local Committees.
  • Print and dispatch liquor licenses.

At the time of lodging a liquor license application

The Liquor Licensing and Administration Business unit does the following:

  • Endorse the application with the date.
  • Examine the application and determine if it is complete.
  • Determine if the application comply.

In the case of an incomplete application issue a notice, calling on the applicant to supplement or remedy the incomplete application, within 21 days.

A complete application must be dispatched to the offices of the Local Committee within 14 days. An incomplete application, delays the licensing procedure by at least 60 days. To prevent delays it goes without saying, that the application must be complete and comply with the Liquor Act.

Public Participation

This is the next stage in the Liquor Licensing Procedure. The application is now with the local committee whom must notify the applicant within 14 days that:

  • The application is back from the Liquor Authorities.
  • Notice of the application by the applicant or his agent must now:
    • Advertised in at least one newspaper circulating in the area in which the proposed premises will be located. In KwaZulu-Natal it is not required to advertise in the Government Gazette.
    • Display a notice 1 meter x 1 meter in size on the proposed premise to be visible to passers-by for 21 working days.
    • In a residential area serve a notice of the application on a member – over the age of 16 years – in every household within a 100 meter radius of the proposed premise.
    • At the same time of publication of the advert as stated above, a copy of the application must be delivered to the Station Commissioner of the South African Police Service in whose area the the proposed premises are or will be located.
  • This notice must state:
    • That the application can be inspected at the offices of the Station Commissioner and the offices of the local committee.
    • Any interesting party may object in granting of the license within a period of 21 days.

Notification from the local committee

When the notification from the local committee arrives, the proof of all the above mentioned, must be submitted to the local committee, within a period of 7 days. If any objections are lodged, this will delay the Licensing Procedure. Objections were discussed in full in a previous article, Click here to read.

With no objections after the 21 working day period, the application is dispatched to the offices of the Liquor Authorities, who instruct a Compliance Inspector to do an inspection.

The inspection as part of the licensing procedure

The compliance inspector must conduct the inspection within 14 days and submit a report to the local committee. In practice the report first goes back to the Liquor Authorities who then return it to the local committee for consideration.

The inspector report will contain the following:

  • The physical address of the premises
  • The distance to other licensed premises
  • The distance to learning and religious institutions
  • All details pertaining the premises, floor plan and photo’s

The local committee must consider the application taking the following into account:

  • The application and all documents attached
  • The inspection report
  • Any written objections and the response thereto
  • The compliance of the application and if it is in public interest
  • The criteria referred to in section 48(5) and (6) which was discussed in a previous article

After considering the application the local committee must within 14 days submit a report to the Liquor Authorities. All documents must accompany the report.

The local committee must make recommendation to the Liquor Authority either to grant or refuse the application

Approval. The next step in the Licensing Procedure

At this point in the process, the application is now prepared to be considered by the liquor board. The liquor board must consider the application within 14 days. The Liquor Authority must take into consideration all points set out in section 48 (5) and (6) of the liquor act. The application must comply in all requirements, as set out in the liquor act.

The Liquor Authorities may come to different conclusions, after considering the application.

The best outcome by far will be if they decide to Grant the Application. This means that you will soon be able to trade. On the contrary, the board my decide to Refuse the Application, that is by far the worst case scenario. A refused application means that you will not be able to trade at all.

Another result of the liquor authorities conclusion may be to Postpone the matter for further information to be gathered. Which means that the time before getting a license will be delayed accordingly. In some cases the liquor authority can decide to Conditionally grant the application. This happens in the case where the premises must still be completed or for any other reason they deem fit.

When the license is granted, it is not mean it is the end of the road, as the licensing procedure continues. The applicant can not start to trade at this point. One more step to complete.

At the time of granting the application, a notice is sent to the applicant. This notice advises the applicant to pay the activation fee and thereafter supply proof of payment to the Liquor Authorities.

Only now, with all of the above in place may the Liquor License Certificate be requested and printed. Once printed the license awaits to be signed. This can take up-to 30 days.

The new License Holder can not start trading before in possession of the relevant license certificate.


The License Procedure as set out above is a tedious process, and can be completed in six to eight months, provided all the time factors are strictly adhered to. In the event of objections, an incomplete application or an application that does not comply, the waiting period can easily extend by another 3 months.

42 thoughts on “The workings of the KZN Liquor Licensing Procedure.”

  1. hi, what are the cost if i want to apply for a bottle store? + – R….. I am in Osizweni, Newcastle. so that i’ll if funds are enough,

    thank you

  2. I’ve been trying to get a place, cos I’m staying in a farm so now I’ve found one under the(Inkosi) chief, so now i want to know, where to from here? A recommended people or person maybe, please contact details. I Thank u.

  3. Good Day, Trust you are well. I would like to apply for a license in an residential area. Take away consumption.
    Please assist.

  4. Good day
    I want to obtain a liquor licence inside a Lodge .
    We want to sell liquor for guests as we have a resturent inside the premises.v vv

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