By Marianne Nghidengwa
WINDHOEK has over 3 000 shebeens and less than 200 are registered, showing a clear indication that unlawful sale of alcohol is still rife, City Police Chief Abraham Kanime revealed.
Kanime made the startling revelations in response to an enquiry by Confidente recently. Kanime said that according to the latest shebeen audit report compiled in June, there are over 3 000 shebeens in Windhoek of which 99.9 percent are in Khomasdal and Katutura.
Kanime also said that although less than 200 shebeens are registered, a majority had submitted applications but did not meet the requirements.
“Those licensed are less than 200 but more had submitted their applications although a majority did not meet the requirements,” Kanime noted.
Kanime has been vocal over the mushrooming of drinking holes stressing that they are dens of moral decay and that if it were up to the City Police, all shebeens especially in the infamous Eveline Street and Single Quarters area in Katutura, would be closed. By November last year, there were about 79 shebeens along Eveline Street of which 68 had names while 11 had no names.
Kanime called on the amendment of the country’s Liquor Licences Act to have shebeens in the two areas closed permanently as they led to the destruction of many lives through high alcohol consumption by patrons, some underage.
“Shebeens selling alcohol in Eveline Street and Single Quarters should be banned and in turn businesses like salons and food outlets should be opened in those areas. We should also look at the issue of special licenses so we limit the hours liquor outlets operate. If we don’t take real action to remove those shebeens from Eveline Street and Single Quarters we will get to a time where we all lose to crime. We are creating a conducive environment for crime to thrive,” Kanime noted.
Although many argue that shebeens are a livelihood of many families suggesting that authorities rather legalise illicit watering holes, Kanime pointed out that the destruction caused by alcohol abuse is devastating. “Everyone will tell you that the issue of shebeens in Eveline Street and Single Quarters is a bread and butter issue but the destruction these shebeens are leaving behind is much higher. Children who reside in those areas are taught crime at a very tender age as well as alcohol abuse because that’s all they grow up seeing around them. We have adults also engaging in crime and alcohol abuse. If shebeens are closed in these areas peace in homes will be restored because spouses/partners will go home early and have quality time with their families. Money that is spent on buying alcohol will instead be used to buy food for the family,” Kanime reasoned.
Meanwhile, the Shebeen Association of Namibia through its president Andreas Nuule argues against changing something that’s already working and revealed that there are currently 4 000 individuals registered under the association.
“I can tell you that we have 4 000 shebeens registered of which 99 percent are individuals.”
Recently, MPs proposed a referendum in the National Assembly on whether Government should ban the sale of alcohol in residential areas. This will also see an end to alcohol outlets operating in close proximity of schools and churches.
Contributing to the debate, Justice Minister Albert Kawana while saying that the nation should decide on the matter, he argued that allowing heavy alcohol consumption defeats the purpose of fighting poverty.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015