Omaheke NamPol laments illegal shebeens

01 Feb 2018 15:50pm
GOBABIS, 01 FEB (NAMPA) – The curtain is set to come down on illegal shebeens and liquor outlets that have been operating in contravention of the Liquor Act in the Omaheke Region.
This was said by Regional Commander of the Namibian Police Force in the Omaheke Region, Commissioner Andreas Haingura, who told Nampa in an interview on Thursday that the police will soon roll-out a campaign to rid the region of illegal liquor outlets.
He said the mushrooming of shebeens and other liquor trading places in the region, most of which operate without proper documentation, has become a thorn in the flesh of the regional police.
Haingura noted that concerns have been raised by the community during various engagements with the police about noise pollution and long operating hours of shebeens in the region.
“The issue of shebeens is really becoming a problem everywhere and the Omaheke Region is no exception. This is something that needs urgent intervention, as it cannot be allowed to go on in its current state,” he said.
The regional commander urged shebeen owners who are yet to formalise registrations for their outlets, to do so without failure.
He was also at pains to explain that shebeen owners who are licensed to operate are also amongst those not sticking to the conditions of their licenses.
Such businesses, he said, will also face a close-down when the regional police start enforcing and checking for adherence to the liquor act at these establishments.
“All that we will do is enforce the liquor act and make sure that all these businesses comply with it. For those that don’t, the law will take its course,” he said.
According to Haingura, the community reported that some of the most violent crimes in the region take place at shebeens - most of which are unlicensed.
The mass closing down of unlicensed shebeens some three years ago in the Omaheke region 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 at the time, who were of the opinion that the police approach was too radical.
Alcohol abuse at Gobabis has become a chronic problem, with informal liquor trading outlets, where cheap traditional brews such as tombo is being sold, far outnumbering shebeens.
Many people, especially the unemployed, spend hours at these liquor trading houses where they indulge in excessive drinking of cheap home-brews.