Gobabis — The governor of the Omaheke Region says she will not interfere with police operations against illegal shebeens.
In an interview with Nampa this week, Laura McLeod-Katjirua threw her weight behind the closures of illegal liquor trading outlets, saying it was high time such businesses were brought to order.
The governor said she would never stand in the way of the operations of the police, as they were merely doing what the community expected of them.
McLeod-Katjirua said the police were not deliberately acting against business owners, but were protecting the lives of many through the crackdown on shebeens, as crimes often took place at such establishments.
“We have left this thing unattended for too long. Our people should learn that even in a democratic country like Namibia, there are laws and regulations to follow.
The laws on operating or setting up a shebeen are very clear and they should be followed to the letter,” she said.
The governor said the discomfort, noise pollution and criminal activities taking place at shebeens often outweighed the economic benefits they offered.
“We need to ask ourselves if these benefits, which are often only felt by the business owner concerned, are enough reasons to put the entire nation at risk by operating shebeens – especially illegal ones. The facts and statistics speak for themselves,” she said.
The Omaheke police, under the guidance of Commissioner Josephat Abel, closed down about 100 shebeens in Gobabis recently.
This follows shebeen owners’ failure to produce legitimate proof of registration and licences.
Shebeen owners have since been flooding the office of the regional councillor, Philipus Katamelo, with requests to intervene so that they could reopen their businesses.
Abel, however, told Nampa that he would not entertain such requests from shebeen owners, and refused to bargain with them.