National Liquor Authority
Information Circular 3 2007
The role and duties of the Liquor Trade Inspectors
The National Liquor Authority (NLA) is about to embark on a national
inspection campaign with a view to monitor the level of compliance within
the liquor industry. This circular is, therefore, intended to inform the
registrants of the National Liquor Authority about the role of the Liquor
Trade Inspectors in conducting inspections, investigations and enforcing
Regulation of the liquor industry includes ensuring that liquor trade is
performed within legal parameters in order to promote fair and
responsible trade. Participants in the industry are hereby encouraged to
abide by regulations thereby behaving in a professional and legitimate
The purpose of the circular is to inform and educate the NLA registrants
about the role and duties of Liquor Trade Inspectors as mandated by the
Liquor Act 59 of 2003(the Act) with the view to facilitate the imminent
inspections and contribute to increased voluntary compliance within the
liquor industry. This circular will in turn clarify the role and responsibilities
of both Liquor Trade Inspectors and registrants during inspections.
Definition of an Inspector
The Act defines an Inspector as a person designated as such in terms
section 25(1) the Act with either general or specific authority to exercise
powers in terms of the Act.
The appointment of Liquor Trade Inspectors
• The Minister may designate any person as a Liquor Trade Inspector,
with either general or specific authority to exercise powers in terms of
• The Liquor Trade Inspector must produce a certificate stating that he
or she has been designated as a Liquor Trade Inspector. The certificate
is sufficient evidence of the authority of the Liquor Trade Inspector
named on it to conduct inspections in terms of the Act.
• When exercising powers in terms of the Act, a Liquor Trade Inspector
is a Peace Officer as defined in section 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act,
1977(Act No.51 of 1977), and may exercise the powers conferred on a
Peace officer by law.
The duties/functions of Liquor Trade Inspectors
The main functions of a Liquor Trade Inspector can be summarized as
• Conduct inspections, investigate complaints submitted in the
prescribed form, monitor and enforce compliance with the Act.
Issuance of compliance notices
A Liquor Trade Inspector may issue a compliance notice where non-
compliance has been identified.
Can a registrant object to compliance notice?
Any person issued with a compliance notice may object to it by making
representation to the Minister (National Liquor Authority) within 21 days
of receipt of that notice, or such longer period as may be allowed by the
Minister on good cause shown.
After considering any representations by the objector and any
other relevant information, the Minister (National Liquor
Authority) may confirm, modify or cancel any compliance notice or
any part of it.
The powers of Liquor Trade Inspectors during an inspection
During the inspection process the Liquor Trade inspectors may
• Question any person whom the inspector believes may have
information relevant to an inspection.
• Question any person present on any premises being inspected in
respect of any matter that may be relevant to the inspection.
• Inspect any document that a person is required to maintain in terms of
this Act or any other relevant law or may be relevant to any liquor-
• Take samples of any substance that is relevant to the inspection.
Entry of premises without a warrant
A Liquor Trade Inspector may enter a premise for inspection purpose
without a warrant. However a Liquor Trade inspector who does not have a
• enter and inspect any premises with the consent of the owner or the
person in control of the premises or
• on a routine basis, enter and inspect any registered premises
Entry of premises with a warrant
Liquor Trade Inspectors may enter any premises for inspection purposes if
a magistrate has issued a warrant.
A magistrate may issue a warrant to enter and inspect any premises
(registered or unregistered) if he has reason to believe that:
• This Act is not being complied with
• The entry and inspection are necessary, in the interest of the public, to
obtain information that is related to the alleged failure to comply with
this Act and that cannot be obtained without entering those premises.
A warrant may be issued at any time and must specifically:
• Identify the premises that may be entered and inspected and
• Authorize the Liquor Trade Inspector to enter and inspect the premises
and do anything contemplated in section 26 of the Act.
A warrant is valid until:
• It is executed
• It is cancelled by the magistrate who issued it or by a person with
• The purpose for which it was issued has fallen away
• 90 days have elapsed since the date it was issued.
Before commencing an inspection under a warrant, a Liquor Trade
Inspector must, during the presence of the owner:
• provide identification to that owner and explain the authority by which
the inspection is being conducted by showing the inspector’s certificate
• hand a copy of the warrant to the owner or a person named in it and
• attach a copy of the warrant to the premises in a prominent and visible
place if the owner is absent or the owner refuses to accept a copy
Seizure of goods
Liquor Trade Inspectors may seize goods deemed to be in contravention of
the legislation. However, a Liquor Trade Inspector who seizes any goods
in terms of the Act must:
• issue a receipt for the goods to the owner of or person in control of the
• secure the seized goods, pending a decision concerning forfeiture of
those goods manufactured contrary to the Act
A Liquor Trade Inspector who removes anything from the
premises being inspected must:
• issue a receipt for it to the owner or the person in control of the
• return it as soon as practicable after achieving the purpose for which it
Inspections are not meant to harass the registrants, but to ensure that
registrants comply with the Act as well as the conditions that have been
set on their registration. Registrants are encouraged to comply
voluntarily, by carrying out their legal obligations as outlined in the Act or
as provided for in terms of the conditions of their registration.
Further Information of the NLA or the Liquor Act 59 of 2003 can be found on www.thedti.gov.za
Enquiries: the dti customer contact centre 0861 843 384