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Chapter 14:12

Liquor Act

Acts 9/1984, 25/1984, 7/1985, 9/1986, 9/1987, 8/1988 (s. 164), 5/1994, 22/2001 (s.4)




  1. Short title.
  2. Application of Act.



  1. Establishment of Liquor Licensing Board.
  2. Terms of office of members.
  3. General disqualifications for membership of Board.
  4. Appointment and duties of secretary of Board. PART III MEETINGS OF BOARD
  5. Times and places of Board meetings.
  6. Conflict of interest.
  7. Hearing of applications and objections.
  8. Board may take notice of matters.
  9. Examination by Board and administration of oaths.
  10. Evidence and cross-examination.
  11. General addresses to Board.
  12. General powers of Board.
  13. Decisions of Board.
  14. Record of Board’s proceedings.



  1. Classification of licences.
  2. Form of licences.
  3. Licensing authorities.
  4. Part I licences: duration and fees.
  5. Part II licences: duration and fees.
  6. Exemptions and refunds.



General 26.    Licences to be in prescribed form.

Part I Licences

  1. Extended hours (occasional) liquor licence.
  2. Temporary retail liquor licence.
  3. Temporary removal liquor licence.
  4. Temporary transfer liquor licence.

Part II Licences

  1. Agent’s liquor licence.
  2. Airport liquor licence.
  3. Airport bottle liquor licence.
  4. Bar liquor licence.
  5. Beer-hall liquor licence.
  6. Bottle liquor licence.
  7. Special bottle liquor licence.
  8. Camp and caravan park liquor licence.
  9. Casino liquor licence.
  10. Club liquor licence.
  11. Hotel liquor licence.
  12. Hotel (private) liquor licence.
  13. Night-club liquor licence.
  14. Park area liquor licence.
  15. Passenger vessel liquor licence.
  16. Restaurant (ordinary) liquor licence.
  17. Restaurant (special) liquor licence.
  18. Theatre liquor licence.
  19. Theatre club liquor licence.
  20. Wholesale liquor licence.
  21. Wine producer’s liquor licence.



  1. Application for Part I licence.
  2. Application for issue of Part II licence.
  3. Application for renewal of Part II licence.
  4. Temporary continuation of validity of licence.
  5. Application for removal of Part II licence.
  6. Application for conditional authority.
  7. Application for transfer of Par II licence.
  8. Death or incapacity of applicant.
  9. Transfer of licence pending grant or refusal of application for renewal.



61.- 63. [Repealed]


  1. Application for approval of manager.
  2. Board may authorize more than one approved manager.
  3. When approved manager ceases to be manager.
  4. Qualifications of approved manager.
  5. Appointment of deputy for period not exceeding thirty days.
  6. Appointment of deputy for period exceeding thirty days.



  1. General discretion of licensing authority.
  2. General considerations.
  3. Persons to whom licences may not be granted.
  4. Notification of change of directors.
  5. General restrictions as to premises.
  6. Conditions may be imposed.



  1. Duty of approved manager.
  2. Licensed premises not to be altered without permission.
  3. Employment of certain persons in licensed premises.
  4. Exclusion of certain persons from licensed premises.
  5. No liquor to be consumed on licensed premises later than thirty minutes after closing time.
  6. Restriction on credit sales of liquor.
  7. Payments for liquor.
  8. Restrictions on recovery of debts for liquor supplied.
  9. Sale or supply of liquor to persons under eighteen.
  10. Display of licence and name of deputy approved manager.



  1. Permits for sale of liquor.
  2. Conditions of permits.
  3. Duration and renewal of permits.
  4. Cancellation, suspension and variation of permits.



  1. Reports to be submitted.
  2. General duty of inspector to report.
  3. Special report by police.
  4. Chairman to convene meeting to consider report.
  5. Inspection of premises.
  6. Police right of entry and seizure.
  7. Police may demand names and addresses.
  8. Closing of licensed premises during tumult.
  9. Closing of licensed premises for reasons of public safety or public order.


GENERAL 99.      Representative may continue when licensee incapacitated. 100. Appointment of inspectors of premises.

  1. Other licences under Chapter 14:17 not required.
  2. Right of disposal on forfeiture or cancellation of licence.
  3. Presumption of sale by unlicensed person.
  4. When supply of liquor presumed to be sale.
  5. Evidence of sale or consumption of liquor.
  6. Presumption of sale arising from presence in licensed premises.
  7. Presumption arising from supply of liquor.
  8. Presumption arising from consumption of liquor.
  9. Burden of proof where prohibited person on premises.
  10. Burden of proof that accused is licensed or exempted or premises have approved manager.
  11. Extract from register.
  12. Criminal responsibility of licensee or approved manager for unlawful act of agent, employee or member of family.
  13. Control of sale of liquor.
  14. Control of soliciting, etc., off licensed premises of orders for sale of liquor.
  15. Prohibited conduct by licensees and approved managers.
  16. Prohibited conduct by persons in general.
  17. Free supply of liquor by proprietors of unlicensed restaurants prohibited.
  18. Offences and penalties.
  19. Surrender of licence or permit to secretary.
  20. Limitation of liability.
  21. Provisions relating to exemptions.


SCHEDULE: Liquor Licences.

AN ACT to establish a Liquor Licensing Board and to confer powers and functions on such Board and various officers in relation to licences and permits to sell liquor; to provide for the control of the sale and supply of liquor; to authorize the sale of refreshments and other articles; to regulate the conduct of licensed premises; to provide for restrictions on the recovery of debts related to the supply of liquor; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

[Date of commencement: 1st January, 1985.]



1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Liquor Act [Chapter 14:12].

                       2    Interpretation

(1) In this Act—

“absolute alcohol” means absolute alcohol by volume at a temperature of fifteen degrees Celsius;

“appointed member” means a member appointed in terms of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section four;

“approved manager” means a person who, in terms of Part VIII, has been approved as the manager of licensed premises and includes the deputy of such person appointed in terms of that Part;

“beer” includes— (a)           ale and stout;

(b)   hop beer containing more than two comma seven five per centum of absolute alcohol; (c)       traditional beer;

“Board” means the Liquor Licensing Board established in terms of section four;

“chairman” means the chairman of the Board appointed in terms of section four;

“district administrator” means a person appointed as a district administrator in the Ministry responsible for local government;

“hotel” includes a motel or boatel;

“inspector of premises” means a person appointed as an inspector of premises in terms of section one hundred;

“issuing authority” means—

  • in respect of the Harare district, the Provincial Magistrate, Mashonaland;
  • in respect of the Bulawayo district, the Provincial Magistrate, Matabeleland;
  • in respect of any district other than Harare or Bulawayo, the district administrator for such


“licence” means a licence specified in the Schedule and issued in terms of this Act;

“licensed premises”, in relation to—

  • a licensee, means the licensed premises in respect of which he is the holder of the licence;
  • an approved manager, means the licensed premises in respect of which he is the manager;
  • a licence, means the premises in respect of which the licence is issued;

“licensing area”, in relation to—

(a)      a municipal council or town council, means— (i) the area of the municipality or town; and

  • the area of any local government area which is administered, controlled and managed by the council; and
  • any area not within the municipality or town but which is completely surrounded by the area of the municipality or town; (b) a local board, means—
  • the local government area for which the local board has been established; and
  • the area of any local government area which is administered, controlled and managed by the local board;
  • a rural district council, means the area for which such council has been established or such council has been established or such greater or lesser area as the Minister may have declared, in terms of subsection (2), to be the licensing area of such council;
  • any other local authority, means the licensing area specified for that local authority in terms of subsection (2);

“licensing authority” means an authority referred to in section twenty-two which may issue a licence or grant authority for the issue, renewal, removal or transfer of a licence;

“licensing year” means the period of twelve months commencing on the 1st July;

“light refreshments” means—

  • bread, sandwiches, pies, biscuits, cakes or pastry; or
  • any food for human consumption derived from the flour of wheat, maize or other grain, other than sadza; or
  • ice-cream, sweets, aerated waters or fruit drinks; or
  • potato chips or crisps, peanuts or biltong; or
  • manufactured tobaccos, matches, pipes or other smokers’ requisites; “liquor” means—
  • any spirit (including methylated and plain spirits), wine or beer (including traditional beer);
  • any fermented, distilled, spirituous or malted liquor not mentioned in paragraph (a) containing more than two comma seven five per centum of absolute alcohol;
  • any drink with which anything defined as liquor in paragraph (a) or (b) has been mixed; but does not include spirituous or distilled perfume, perfumery, medicated spirit or medicated wine;

“local authority” means—

  • a municipal council, town council, local board or rural district council; or
  • any other authority declared in terms of subsection (2) to be a local authority for the purposes of this Act;

“medical officer of health” has the meaning assigned thereto in terms of the Public Health Act [Chapter 15:10];

“member” means a member of the Board and includes the chairman;

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may from time to time assign the administration of this Act; “monopoly area” ….

[Definition deleted by section 10 of Act 12 of 1997]

“open water” means that part of any water which is not within one hundred metres of the shore of the mainland or any island;

“Part I licence” means a licence specified in Part I of the Schedule;

“Part II licence” means a licence specified in Part II of the Schedule;

“passenger vessel” means any description of water craft or hovercraft which is used for the conveyance of passengers on or over water and which has been registered and licensed to carry passengers under any enactment;

“permit” means a permit granted in terms of section eighty-six;

“premises” includes a passenger vessel;

“prescribed fee” means the appropriate fee prescribed in terms of regulations made under section one hundred and twenty-two;

“prescribed form” means the appropriate form prescribed in terms of regulations made under section one hundred and twenty-two;

“refreshments” means—

  • all articles of food, confectionery, beverages or mineral waters such as are ordinarily sold in a restaurant; or
  • newspapers, periodicals, books or post-cards; or
  • manufactured tobaccos, matches, pipes or other smokers’ requisites;

“removal”, in relation to a licence, means the substitution of the premises in respect of which it was issued by other premises;

“secretary” means the secretary appointed in terms of section seven;

“sell” includes—

  • keeping or exposing for sale;
  • authorizing, directing or allowing sale;
  • bartering or exchanging or possessing for the purposes of sale;
  • supplying liquor in return for money or a coupon, ticket or some other token which is paid for at the time of issue or subsequently;

“supply”, in relation to the supply of liquor to any person, means the placing of that person in control of the liquor for his own use;

“traditional beer” means—

  • the drink which is brewed from grain and is commonly known as doro, hwahwa or utshwala; and
  • any potable opaque liquor containing more than one comma seven per centum of ethyl alcohol by volume at fifteen degrees Celsius, which—
    • is derived from the fermentation of a mash of cereal grain or vegetable products, with or without additives; and
    • contains, per one hundred millilitres, not less than two grams of the water-insoluble mash, or the water-insoluble residue of the mash, from which it is derived;
  • any intoxicating drink declared to be traditional beer in terms of any enactment relating thereto;

“transfer”, in relation to a licence, means the substitution of the person who holds the licence by another person;

“wine” means the beverage produced by the alcoholic fermentation of fruit or vegetables and includes the beverages known as cider, perry and vermouth.

(2) The Minister may, by notice in a statutory instrument—

  • declare any authority, other than an authority referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition of “local authority”, to be a local authority for the purposes of this Act and shall specify the licensing area of such local authority; and
  • after consultation with the Minister to whom the administration of the Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13] is assigned, declare that the licensing area of any rural district council shall be a greater or lesser area than the area for which the council was established;

and may in like manner amend or revoke any such notice.



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