Abel reads riot act to unlicensed shebeens

03 Jul 2013 08:00
GOBABIS, 03 JUL (NAMPA) ? The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Commander in the Omaheke Region, Commissioner Josephat Abel has issued a stern warning to shebeen owners who are yet to formalise registrations for their outlets, to do so without failure.
The regional commander told Nampa in an interview here on Wednesday the police will soon start clamping down on illegal liquor operators in the region in order to ?rid society of the evils caused by shebeens?.
According to Abel, some of the most violent crimes reported to the police in the Omaheke Region take place at shebeens - most of which are unlicensed.
?To prevent the spate of violence taking place at shebeens, we need to regulate them so we know which ones are operating legally and which ones are not. It is very difficult to fight crime if it happens at these unregistered shebeens,? he indicated.
Abel noted that unregistered shebeens operate in isolation and do not heed the law, which often results in a high crime rate around these drinking spots.
?When you look at statistics, most of the criminal activities reported to the police tend to be concentrated around unregistered shebeen businesses, as they are often undetected by patrolling police officers,? he said.
The closing down of unlicensed shebeens earlier this year caused an uproar amongst the Gobabis community, most of whom called on the office of the regional councillor, Phillipus Katamelo for intervention.
The matter also appears to have strained relationships between the regional police and some local authority representatives, who were of the opinion that the police approach was too radical.
Abel, however, remains adamant that the exercise is in the best interest of the Gobabis community, and is one that is long overdue.
?People can complain all they want; we are doing this for a good cause. We need to bring crime down in the region and at the same time also control noise pollution. How do we do that? I will continue with this programme until Omaheke is rid of all unlicensed shebeens and drinking spots,? Abel noted.
The police regional commander did not stipulate a specific time frame for the clampdown, but stated that it could be ?anytime soon?.