Shebeen owners say they will mount a legal challenge to the bill
A new law which calls time on 30,000 drinking dens, or shebeens, in South Africa will help reduce crime, a local official has told the BBC.
Western Cape Minister Garth Strachan said the abuse of alcohol was linked to drugs and organised crime.
The bill would bar the drinking dens from residential areas.
Furious shebeen owners have protested, saying it would deprive them of their livelihoods and leave 150,000 people "without food".
Some 3,000 protesters marched on the provincial parliament on Tuesday to hand in a petition against the bill.
They claim they were not consulted about the Western Cape Liquor Act and have threatened to challenge it in the courts, as well as boycott forthcoming elections.
'We are tigers'
But Mr Strachan - provincial minister of finance, economic development and tourism - urged shebeen owners to apply for licences.
He told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme: "Abuse of alcohol is strongly associated with crime, gangsterism, sale of drugs and fatal accidents on our roads. There are people who may put food on the table by selling of alcohol.
"The reality though is that we can't deal with the problems in our society, including poverty and unemployment, by allowing unregulated selling of alcohol."
He said police would not be able to close Western Cape's 30,000 illegal shebeens overnight but added this was a step towards licensing drinking dens, spared regulation for too long.
Die Burger newspaper reports that Mr Strachan listened patiently as furious protesters read out the lengthy petition of 8,000 signatures to him on Tuesday and sang: "We are tigers and not scared of you."
Errol Jackson, of the Western Cape Shebeen Association, told the newspaper: "The government wants to address a social problem, but they are taking our jobs."