Shebeens in residential areas cause of high school failure rates

Committee members of the National Council had a public hearing on the Liquor Amendment Bill, Bill seven of 2016 (B.7-2016). The main reason for the meeting was for the committee to hear what the community’s views and opinions are on this particular Bill and the Clause the Council was looking into is Clause 1(2A) and 1 (d) which is to amend the existing Act 6 of 1998.

“We have to know if it is really necessary to have liquor outlets, bars and shebeens in the vicinity of schools , places of worship, residential areas and around hospitals so we just want to engage stakeholders to get their opinions on that amendment” said Peter Kazongominya, a member of the National Council.
According to Kazongominya the amendment of the Bill is an introduction by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The amendment happens only if there is a public outcry about the availability of alcohol which is easily accessible. He further said that the failure in schools, places of worship and so many more issues is attributed to alcohol. The outcry is that there are so many bars in residential areas and they are causing havoc “the gender base violence that we are getting is because of the drinking that is taking place in our residential areas, the rape, the fights, the stabbing of wounds, hospitals are flooded with people stabbed at shebeens and nightclubs.
That is the problem the government is having, but this cannot be solved by the government alone and will depend from the will of the people” adds Kazongominya. This is why they want to get the public opinion on whether this is true or not and whether they are in agreement with the government and if the government can amend the act. Kazongominya said he was very happy with the outcome of the meeting and the way in which the stakeholders/shebeen and bar owners turned up “I am here to gather information and the information I am gathering here will go back to the National Council and Parliament, they will look into it and then we will decide what the Namibian people want. The committee is expected to report its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the house before or on 20 October.
The meeting was attended by different stakeholders with the majority being the bar and shebeen owners, among them was the principal of a Ngaturihonge Day Care Centre Ms. Gloria Zatjirua. She said she does not have a problem with bars in residential areas, as it is the only source of income for some owners and suggested that only if the bar owners can come to an agreement with the owners of the kindergartens or schools so that they can change their operating hours. “My teaching starts from 08h00 until 12h00 and the bars are opening at 10h00 during the weekdays and when they open they raise the volume of the music so loud to the point where the children cannot concentrate anymore. If we come to a mutual agreement that they keep their music down until the school is out, then I am sure that will be great” adds Zatjirua. Many other bar owners suggested that if the government is having a problem with bars and shebeens in residential areas, then the government must avail land where all bars and shebeens can relocate and requested that bars should be allowed to open from 10h00 to 24h00 during weekdays and 13h00 to 24h00 weekends. Even though the bar owners raised a few concerns they have about their operating hours and shared how the existence of their bars create employment, they all said they support the amendment of the bill and they are waiting for the government to make the best decision that will benefit all.

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