Brewer's Droop #217

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How about a gin & tonic with that Omelette sir?

In September 2010 Newstime published a column I’d written about lunacy in the Cape Town Council offices. Here are some extracts – then there’s an hysterical update at the end.

…Bannings beget more bannings. As I’ve said previously, the ban on tobacco advertising will eventually lead to the criminalising of smoking altogether. Similarly, the forthcoming ban on alcohol advertising will take us back to the American 1920’s prohibition. And I’m not kidding about this either – the drama’s unfolding as I write this.

Recently another hopelessly misguided sanctimonious group of idiots who think they are on some kind of moral crusade have managed to remove yet another little joy from our lives. It’s a mad scramble to make sure that you and I are protected from “social ills” and is becoming an almost weekly occurrence these days.

Councillor Taki Amira, the head of Cape Town’s liquor policy (and mentally-challenged) task team, is defending the City Council’s tighter liquor laws because, I suspect, he wants to get his name in the papers more often.

The new laws are laughable – and were sneaked in whilst everyone else was watching the World Cup…..

Essentially what they’ve done is to amend the laws so that, from New Year’s Day next January,(2011) some Cape restaurants will not be able to sell alcohol after 9pm and others after 11pm (depending on zoning)… There will be a total ban on selling alcohol before 11am too.

Now I don’t know of anyone who goes out boozing before 11am… but I know a lot of people who, in the Cape Summer, often enjoy a glass of champagne with breakfast at upmarket venues on a Sunday morning in a leafy vineyard.

Champagne breakfasts have long been favourites with businessmen too when they want to launch, say, a new product with a touch of elegance.

But our saviour, Amira, doesn’t understand the word “elegance” and says our drinking habits are “not socially acceptable”. Apparently these new restrictions are going to (wait for it) “curb foetal alcohol syndrome, drunk driving and wife beating.”

Amira also said, when being accused of spoiling people’s champagne breakfasts, “I’m at a loss for words because if that’s what’s important to everyone, it shocks me.”

Well Taki, let me explain something to you. Cape Town is a serious tourist destination (you may not have noticed all the crowds watching the soccer recently because you were too busy changing the laws when nobody was concentrating). And Taki, guess what a lot of foreign (and local) tourists do when they’re on holiday? Sometimes they go to elegant venues in the winelands and enjoy leisurely breakfasts – and sometimes (you’d better sit down for this piece of information you pompous ass) they add a dash of champagne in their orange juice.

But, naturally, Taki Amira isn’t listening (councillors seldom do) and drones on in reply “…they have a glass of champagne and orange juice, then they have a second one…then they order a beer then…something harder and then they ride off (on their motorbikes presumably) and someone gets killed…”

Oh yes, I see that often – gangs of Hell’s Angels driving around swinging bottles of Dom Perignon about and scoffing Eggs Benedict as they go gaily crashing into the vineyards, leaving a wake of dead bodies behind them.

Industry leaders have called these measures “patronising” and “childish” and have also, quite rightly, pointed out that there is already legislation in place to control illegal bars and shebeens – laws that simply need enforcing. There’s no point in creating even MORE laws …

Anyway, that was back in September 2010.

Since then, I’m sure, there have been many, many meetings in Council’s Chambers discussing whether or not to ban the champagne breakfast. Hundreds of hours of councillors’ time, achieving little other than one back-track after another. Well done chaps.

So here’s a quick catch-up on what’s happened over the past three years.

The by-law changes were delayed because they capitulated on the champagne, finally admitting that some non-drunks actually enjoyed it.

Then someone realised that not all champagne breakfasts included bona fide champagne so it was delayed again while they changed the word to “sparkling wine”.

Then some smart-ass felt that just allowing sparkling wine was elitist, racist and unconstitutional. “What about traditional drinks?” went the cry around the Council table. Another U-turn.

After considerable harrumphing, it was agreed to change the word “sparkling wine” to “liquor”. What this means is that it’s quite okay now to have a “brandy & coke breakfast”.

It’s absurd I know.

And the council’s vacillating hasn’t ended yet – there’s still a chance that those tourist shops at the Waterfront (for example) who used to sell wine on Sunday may do so again. With the neurotics we’ve got running the liquor by-laws anything is possible – and if they do give the green light to wine sales on Sundays it will all have been a complete waste of time of course.

Currently the plan is to put the “new” law into place by next February. However, the chances of yet another amendment are anybody’s guess. Any thoughts?



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  1. No wonder my rates are going up when idiots like this start meddling with things that should just be left alone!

  2. I think you should become a Councillor Chris. Your first order of the day should be to cancel all stupid committee meetings – that will be about 95% of them. Then you can go to your brandy and coke breakfasts!

  3. I think their motives were spot on. There is far too much drinking going on. Its just a pity that they were bogged down by there rules and proceedures. I think its a shame it was made so weak.

    • Henry, I really think there’s room enough for us all to do what we want to do. Because you (probably) don’t drink, it doesn’t mean you have to force your ideals/culture onto everyone else you know.

      Also, spend a bit of time brushing up your language skills.

    • Really Henry!! We are adults and should be allowed to make up our own minds as to what we would have to drink!!

  4. I’m just sitting here with my head in my hands, wondering if there is another planet I can move to. Or just GTFO of Africa.

    • Steve, other places are even MORE Nanny-state…

    • Gerry’s right, there are far worse places. But we mustn’t give up on calling our councillors and politicians to book. The people MUST win in the end!

  5. If the Minister of health has his way, not only will alcohol advertising be banned but waiters won’t be able to ask if you would like a drink, wine tasting would be outlawed and wine bloggers forbidden. The great South African nanny state is growing in paranoid legislative insanity by the day. Next on their list is fast food and then health products and so it will go on until the only thing we will be allowed to advertise will be the “escort services” in the classified section of our daily newspapers.

    • but “escort” makes pork-by products, and those are dangerous to our health…. hehehehe,

    • And here’s another thought…would “Alcoholics Anonymous” be allowed to use that word in their name? (I’ll BET you could find a politician who would insist they couldn’t!)

    • At least they won’t ban garlic or showers 😉 They perform miracles, apparently.

    • But serious issues like murder, rape, corruption, etc. are not being controlled but that’s okay. Law enforcement can’t cope with these larger issues and they now want to add this!

  6. It is so strange that everybody goes around playing Nanny – it’s a pipe dream. The drinkers will drink banned or not -remember prohibition? It will just go undeground and this will be perfect for crime and criminals. Catch a wake up you stupid bunch of arseholes. People will aways do what they want to and no tosser of a councillor will make a difference. Put your time and money into rehab programmes.

    • You’re so right Marilyn; where there’s a will (to drink, or sell the stuff), there’s a way. Imizamo Yethu, now well entrenched in Hout Bay’s cultural cross section, has at least six shebeens, and I read that a good few of them are in plain sight from the upstairs offices (many still vacant) of our landmark Police Station. They (the shebeens) most likely have profitable Sunday trading. Let it also be said though, that we have a new senior officer in command here who plans to “clean up all this nonsense”, or words to that effect.

  7. I’ll vote for any party that allows restaurants and pubs to open when and where they want to, and who will allow smoking in public back – even though I’ve never even taken a puff in my life.

    • Amen to that. (And I’m not a smoker either).

      • Then that cigar puffing photo up front there is what you USED to be? Time to change it one of you with a glass of bubbly then. Cheersh!

        • That photograph is a stand of defiance. I may not smoke anymore but I support smoking – especially Cubans! (By the way, I have rather a good selection which I’ll never smoke – am open to offers!)

          • Trading old Cubans? And I thought human trafficking was also outlawed. Glad people are getting SOME sense… Soon BAT will have huge ad budgets again.

  8. I think its crazy madness that in 2013 we don’t have the freedom to buy booze for more than half the weekend. To be responsible or irresponsible as we decide! Next they will probably make voting easier for us by printing the cross on the ballot paper, because they know, we probably have too much booze for breakfast to enjoy our rights.

  9. Did you know that in the Overberg municipality which incorporates Rooi Els, Villiersdorp, Swellendam, Infanta and everything in between, one can buy liquor from 8am – 8 pm 365 days a year. What’s wrong with Cape Town?

    • We have seriously misguided people in the Council – that’s what’s wrong!

  10. How quaint to read about a place in SA where there is concern that laws may actually be enforced!

  11. And there I was thinking that the Cape may be the last civilized province in the country.

  12. Ultimately GTFO of Africa — however, certain “civilised” first world countries are headed by idiots of another kind, running nanny states. If you find another planet without complete idiots running it and preferably idiots not living on it at all, please let me know!


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