16 Oct 2015 17:40pm
WALVIS BAY, 16 OCT (NAMPA) - Shebeen owners from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund on Thursday snubbed a meeting intended to inform them to comply with the new operating hours of shebeens.
The meeting, called by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Erongo Region, was the first step to caution shebeen owners before the police start issuing fines to those who do not comply.
Only two shebeen owners showed up at the meeting, with the rest of attendees being police officers and members of the Neighbourhood Watch organisations from the two towns.
As published in the Government Gazette of 13 February 2015, the amended Liquor Licence Act No. 6 of 1998 allows shebeens to be open from 10h00 to 22h00 Mondays to Thursdays.
On Fridays and Saturdays, they may be open from 10h00 to 24h00, while on Sundays they are allowed to be open from 14h00 to 22h00.
Before the amendments, shebeens were authorised to be open from 10h00 to 24h00 all days but Sundays.
On Sundays they were allowed to be open from 10h00 to 14h30 and again re-open from 18h00 to 24h00.
All shebeens are supposed to be closed on Ascension Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Addressing the meeting, NamPols Chief of Operations in Erongo, Deputy Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu said the police will now start fining those found operating beyond the new operating hours.
Compliance is very important. We did our part to inform you before we act. I was hoping to see a reasonable number of shebeen owners here so that the message can reach everyone, but that is not the case, said Nelumbu.
He said the aim is to reduce noise pollution as well as alcohol abuse, stressing that the police will not accept excuses by those operating on previous time slots, just because they are still on their previous licences.
He further cautioned shebeen owners to make sure that their old liquor licences are renewed to reflect the current operating hours.
We all want our nation to be educated especially our children, but with such noise from jukeboxes found even in residential areas, it is difficult for them to study, he said, adding those who think the new hours do not give enough time for business should think again.
If it was up to me, I would have reduced them to a point where you only have a few hours, said Nelumbu.