Representatives of the Church Leaders Caucus (Roman Catholic, ELCRN, AME, Rehoboth Ecumenical Council, Pentecostal) on Shebeens and Social Issues in Rehoboth, received a cold shoulder for the third time, in their pursuit to deliberate on their demands, delivered to the Mayor of the Town on 22 April 2008.
Previous meetings scheduled for the 21st of May 2008, 27th of May 2008 were postponed on the insistence of the Office of the Mayor.
Upon the postponement of the third meeting on the 4th of June 2008, the church leaders dispatched a team consisting of Rev. Schuster (AME) and Mr B.A. Pieters (Liaison Official) in defiance of the call-off, who presented themselves at the Office of the Chief Executive Officer at 14h00, requesting the CEO to hear their concerns, convey their messages to the Town Council and facilitate a meeting between Council and the Church leadership, upon which responses should be furnished on their previous demands, requests and plight.
The church demands include the establishment of a Shebeen Regulatory Committee, inclusive of all shebeen owners in Rehoboth and not only in selected areas, the closure of shebeens, ‘unprocedurally’ approved by the Rehoboth Town Council, and constructed on residential erven, the immediate facilitation of the processes by which property rights (title deeds) are issued to residents staying in the informal settlements, depriving them of accessing opportunities, the facilitation of the process by which the procedures of handing over of houses in the Block E residential area, promised since 1992, are communicated to the residents by means of community meetings, the construction of SME stalls aimed at stimulating and other small-scale economic activity, the curbing of illegal ‘electricity tapping’, conveniently used by certain shebeens, which poses a potential danger to life, property and electrification in general, the allocation of erven to organizations of worship and business erven for business purposes especially in the Block E residential area.
The Chief Executive Officer, who welcomingly accommodated the church leaders, pledged to handle the issues presented by the church on the required levels it qualifies, and ensure the leaders of his council’s appreciation with regard to a relationship between the two institutions.
The church leaders summarily indicated to the Chief Executive Officer that they would prefer not to deal with the personal assistant to the Mayor any further, as suggested by the Mayor, and would rather continue liaising directly with him, as the Chief Accounting Officer of Council.
The church further wishes to applaud the efforts of the local police, under the command of Warrant-Officer Diergaardt, who against all odds – manpower shortage, logistical limitations, despite the added pressure of shebeens, partly by the inconsiderate making of Council – employ punctual operations during weekends and weekdays, to ensure the safety and security of the Rehoboth residents.
The church leaders who indicate that they will not give up this noble action, acknowledge the efforts of the Rehoboth Town Council, with regard to its efforts to call a moratorium on fitness certificates for shebeens, a physical meeting with all shebeen owners and the po-lice, however insist that quarterly meetings be facilitated by council, amongst this stakeholders, to consistently review compliance of stakeholders with their various roles in ensuring a peaceful and progressive society.
The church is equally concerned about sound pollution at irregular hours by both shebeens and some churches and indiscriminately speaks its mind on the particular burning issue at the relevant platforms.
B.A Pieters @