2007-12-03 : Liquor board, chief director face jail time

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2007-12-03 : Liquor board, chief director face jail time

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-12-11 08:12

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 452C545841

The Gauteng Liquor Board and its chief director have been found to be in
contempt of court for the second time in two months on the same case for not
obeying court orders.

This is the third contempt order against the board in three months. Pretoria
High Court Acting Judge Andre Ferreira ordered that the board and its Chief
Director, Kenneth Mapengo (in his official capacity), be committed to 30
days imprisonment. The order will be held over for seven days to give the
board an opportunity to issue liquor licences to the Fresh Food Warehouse
and to Rietvlei Conference Centre.

Ferreira said that owing to time constraints he could not give reasons for
his judgment, but would do so later. The judge also awarded a punitive costs
order against the board and Mapengo. This means that the tax payer will not
foot the legal bill, which will have to be paid from the board's own funds.

Pretoria lawyer Marius Blom, who instituted the legal proceedings on behalf
of the businesses, also cited the chairman of the board, Matshego Ramagaga,
as a respondent, claiming that she too (in her official capacity) was in
contempt for ignoring earlier court orders.

No order could be obtained against her as she is an acting judge of the
Johannesburg high court. Ferreira ordered that Blom may put the matter on
the roll again once her term as acting judge has lapsed.

Last week the court heard how Blom, who acts on behalf of many companies
seeking a liquor licence, struggled to obtain these licences or to even get
the board to consider the issuing of possible licences.

In this case the businesses had been waiting for three years for an answer
from the board pertaining to their applications. It was the fourth time Blom
had had to approach the court for an order compelling the board to do its

In September (the third time the matter went to court) Deputy Judge
President Jerry Shongwe held the board and Mapengo in contempt. He gave them
14 days to issue the licences in question or face a jail sentence. Ramagaga
was also cited as a party to those proceedings, but no finding could be made
against her at the time due to her position on the Johannesburg Bench.

The board and its officials ignored the order and Blom had to again turn to
the court last week. The advocate acting on his behalf, Linda Pretorius,
said "enough was enough" as the liquor board simply did not bother to comply
with court orders.

She asked Ferreira to "send them straight to jail", as the board did not
fear orders.

The board did defend the case.

Blom said while he experienced problems with many of the liquor boards,
Gauteng was one of the worst.

Limpopo, he said, was not far behind, while Mpumalanga was quite jacked-up.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on December 03, 2007
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