New policy for shebeens in residential areas on the cards

06 April 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]

The City of Windhoek (CoW) has recommended that the University of Namibia and the Namibia University of Science and Technology be approached to conduct research in collaboration with the CoW into the current practice of allowing shebeens in residential areas.
This will include organising and conducting community meetings to obtain input on shebeens in residential areas. Until a new formal policy position on the issue has been finalised, only licence renewals of existing shebeens will be considered.
This decision comes after the City's management committee in January referred an agenda point to a workshop that took place in February regarding allowing shebeens to operate in residential areas.
According to council documents from the latest council meeting that took place at the end of March, social issues were discussed at length during the workshop. The original council resolution of the year 2000 addressed the issue, stating, “that shebeen and home shop owners be offered to apply for rezoning their premises from residential to business with an appropriate bulk, to obtain consent to operate in terms of the Resident Occupation Policy or to close down”.
Limited opportunities
Those who could qualify were encouraged to obtain a formal commercial status, but of which opportunities would have been very limited due to the majority of shebeens being set up in residential areas. According to the document, this resulted in a majority of shebeen owners following the route of obtaining consent.
“This practice was adopted even though the policy was designed to allow low impact activities of a non-residential nature to a very limited extent on properties zoned residential,” documents state.
However, allowing shebeens to operate on residential properties is creating social problems within neighbourhoods. Thus, “the CoW wishes to reassess the policy of allowing shebeens to be operated from residential properties where it has an impact on the social welfare of the residents, and in particular the children.”
Social problems include violence towards women and children and serving alcohol to minors.
“Council acknowledges that the majority of residents in low income township areas are struggling to acquire the economic means to support themselves and that the only real asset they can use to generate an income, is their property.”

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