WINDHOEK – Katutura Central Constituency Councillor Ambrosius Kandjii is concerned about the increasing number of legal and illegal shebeens that are sprouting in the constituency, and says it does not bode well for residents.
Speaking to New Era, Kandjii said there has been a substantial increase in the number of shebeens and this has led to noise pollution among other distractions. “The mushrooming of legal and illegal shebeens, especially in and around the former apartheid singles quarters is a concern of everybody, especially during this important time of the year when Grade 10’s are preparing to take their exams, “ said Kandjii.
He singled out Willy’s Bar at the former singles quarters as one of the major culprits when it comes to noise pollution. “This specific shebeen operates twenty four hours a day and is fully licenced so the authorities can do nothing about it,” he said, and questioned the procedures used to issue liquor licences to operate in densely populated residential areas. How can one issue a liquor licence in a residential area,” Kandjii queried. “Most of the bars do not even have functional toilets, most are makeshift congregated shacks,” noted Kandjii. “Some of their customers drive their cars in that drunken state, placing the lives of many, including themselves in danger.”
He said almost every household now runs a shebeen, a matter which all stakeholders should interrogate seriously according to him. He further said the situation is a total disgrace and reflects poorly on national leaders. “What results can we expect from children living in areas full of shebeens? These children will simply copy what they are being exposed to on a daily basis,” he stressed. Kandjii further said shebeens pose an enforcement challenge for the police, and fears they may be fighting a losing battle.
“Violent and other serious crimes are often linked to these shebeens,” said Kandjii, who added that alcohol consumption at illegal watering holes has gone out of control. According to him weekly and sometimes even daily police raids have failed to contain the situation regarding illegal shebeens, their operating hours, as well as selling liquor to underage children and expressed serious misgivings about the future of many young people. “When we conduct raids, we find that even the legal shebeens that have permits to sell alcohol also break the rules and regulations,” he said. He suggests that the only way to contain the situation may be to shut down permanently the illegal shebeens.