WINDHOEK: The leadership of the Swapo-Party Youth League (SPYL) has condemned decisions taken by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) to close down illegal shebeens in the capital and other towns in the Khomas Region.
The leadership of the ruling party’s youth league expressed their displeasure during a media conference held at the party’s headquarters in Katutura on Thursday afternoon.
“The members of the national executive committee (NEC) of SPYL has noted with displeasure that NamPol have yet again defined itself as opposed to the desire of the poor people to help feed themselves and their families.
Those people that unleash the Police unto our poor people must inform their bosses to rather concentrate on closing down the social evils of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment in the country,” said SPYL Secretary for Information, Publicity and Mobilisation Job Amupanda.
The wing claims that the social evils of “poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment also do not have licences and are operating in the country illegally”.
Amupanda then seriously appealed to the leadership of the Namibian Government and the heads of the law-enforcement units (NamPol and Windhoek City Police) to fully understand the pain and suffering of poor people, and help find amicable solutions to the issue of illegal shebeens, rather than to close down these business outlets.
Khomas Regional Police Commanding Officer, Commissioner Festus Shilongo announced on Wednesday this week that the police will continue enforcing the Liquor Act of 1998 by closing all illegal shebeens operating in the Khomas Region.
Shilongo once again instructed all Khomas-based police station commanders to start closing down illegal shebeens in their respective areas, adding that the police in the Khomas Region will see to it that no person drinks alcohol while on the streets or outside bottle stores.
He made it clear that the continuation of the enforcement of the provisions of the Liquor Act of 1998 has nothing to do with politics, saying it should not be politicised by members of the public.
Shilongo also appealed to all law-abiding citizens to support the police’s operations and initiatives in order to help control crime in the region and surrounding areas.
Since July this year, the Khomas regional police have issued a number of fines to illegal shebeen operators in Katutura, Khomasdal and several informal settlements.
Fines range between N.dollars 1 000 and N.dollars 4 500.
A fine of N.dollars 4 500 is payable for operating a shebeen without a licence, while a fine of N.dollars 2 000 is payable for operating a shebeen with a licence, but not according to the regulations stipulated on the licence.
The police commissioner also cautioned shebeen owners not to encourage customers to become violent, or to attempt to obstruct the police while they are performing their duties.
On 13 June this year, both the Windhoek City Police and NamPol began closing down all unlicensed shebeens and bars in the region and surrounding areas.
Senior officers of the two law-enforcement units told a community meeting at the time that they decided to enforce the law because the incidents of crime emanating from the misuse of alcohol in Windhoek and the Khomas Region kept increasing.
The continuation of the closing down of the illegal shebeens by the Police in the Khomas Region began on Wednesday at 10h00.