Residents of Otjomuise and the surrounding informal settlements have come out strongly to support President Hage Geingob’s calls to rid residential areas of shebeens and liquor outlets.
Otjomuise residents echoed the president’s appeal in discussions during the ongoing events that for part of Constituency Week. The discussions are being attended by the local residents, the police and regional councillors.
Last year President Geingob ruffled feathers among shebeen owners when he called for shebeen-free residential areas and requested their closure on Sundays.
During the discussion at Khomasdal Community Hall, National Council chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams said cuca shops are having a detrimental effect on society.
She said this is worsened by the fact that minors buy alcohol for adults and in some cases for themselves.
Mensah-Williams, who is also Khomasdal North Constituency councillor, talked of how shebeens impact on the lives of young people and the vulnerable in society and how it also contributes to gender-based violence.
She urged residents not to turn a blind eye to crimes being committed by juveniles and to discipline wayward children when necessary.
Most residents expressed concern over alcohol abuse and the associated crimes committed, including reckless behaviour as a result of excessive drinking.
Some residents want all shebeens to be restricted to a single area of operation. One shebeen owner stood up to say he understands the damage these liquor outlets in residential areas cause to local communities.
The owner, however, maintained that he and other shebeen owners have to make a living and have invested a lot of money to start their businesses. In some cases they have invested their life savings into shebeens.
According to him, it would be unfair for shebeens that are run properly to be closed down due to the mistakes of others who do not comply with the law.
City Police officials said they are ready to help the community in their plans to prevent the bad behaviour caused by alcohol abuse.
The police further advised frustrated residents to approach lawyers and to toyi-toyi in front of the courts if they want to be heard and shebeens to be closed.