By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Be they legal or illegal, all shebeens in Khomasdal should be shut down as a matter of urgency if the community is to survive. This is the view of Reverend Zack Pienaar of the Uniting Reformed Church in Khomasdal. “From a pastoral point of view, the Church and the Bible reject the selling of alcohol to under-age children, something that is regularly and constantly happening at shebeens in our community. The selling of alcohol at shebeens, which the suburb is teeming with, is a disgrace and one of the most socially destructive forces terrorising this community and others throughout the country,” said Pienaar. In his view, shebeens largely contribute towards the continued social destruction of the nation. “Look around at all the social evils occurring daily in our society – the destruction of family life, child molestation, rapes, violence against women and children, family conflicts, are all the result of alcohol so readily available on a twenty-four hour basis at shebeens. Alcohol has a total destructive effect on the whole society,” said Pienaar. He said most shebeens operate without any rules or regulations, legally or otherwise selling alcohol to all and sundry. “I am aware of the fact that some shebeens do operate with some sort of finesse, but the majority not. Many of them create very unhygienic environments in the capital’s suburbs, driving peace-loving and law-abiding citizens out of their living places. In Khomasdal, the community is confronted with basically a shebeen on every street corner contributing heavily towards the moral destruction of the society,” he said. He rejected the notion that shebeens are an economic stimulant that provides employment opportunities. “In my view, it’s only the shebeen owners and in some cases their silent partners, mostly people with full-time job incomes, some of which I suspect are police officers and political leaders, too, that reap the financial benefits of such shebeens. The silent partners may be absent but they definitely share in the profits,” Pienaar said. He elaborated that shebeens operate as untouchables in the society because of the huge profits derived from them. “At one stage, churches were limited and restricted in spreading the gospel in Khomasdal to a certain time at night because the Windhoek Municipality accused such churches of noise pollution, but shebeens have been allowed to operate unhindered with all sorts of perpetual noises and continuous pollution. These shebeens do not serve the community, but the owners alone,” he claimed. He urged that with the sudden registration of shebeens as legal entities, an investigation should be launched to find out who really owns shebeens. “In many cases, it’s not poor or unemployed people owning these shebeens, but working people who finance these businesses – even government officials are guilty of this purely out of greed for money. “All churches need to stand together against this unholy, unchristian and destructive force, called shebeens,” Pienaar said.
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