THE Livingstone City Council must be commended over its efforts to clampdown on the mushrooming shebeens in the tourist capital.
The tendency by councils or indeed other legal entities to wait until something gets out of hand before acting is what often leads to unnecessary friction.
There is no justification whatsoever for one to turn a residential house into a drinking place when the law allows anyone to open a bar provided all the legal requirements are met.
If anything, these residential homes turned into drinking places, popularly known as shebeens become ideal places where criminal activities take place.
So far, the local authority with support from the Zambia Police has conducted raids in Mwandi and Sakubita compounds where assorted types of alcoholic beverages have been confiscated.
Assistant Public Relations Officer Mumba Mafwenko said the council was concerned with the mushrooming of shebeens in homes.
The council has in this vein warned the general public against turning their homes into shebeens. The council should ensure that such activities are curtailed.
The council should not relent in this campaign to clampdown on shebeens for they pose a danger to peace and security in residential areas.
We agree with the council’s Director of Public Health, Ms Chileshe Mapemba who noted that the selling of liquor without a licence and selling of alcohol in residential areas without proper hygiene was illegal according to the Liquor Licensing Act of 2011.
Ms Mapemba said the sale of alcohol in residential houses compromises public health. “The sale of liquor in residential houses is a serious violation of the Liquor Licence and Public Health Act. It compromises the safety of residents and that of public health.”
Ms Mapemba said this was because such places have no facilities to accommodate that kind of businesses. “Facilities I mean toilet facilities for people that drink. As you are aware, a proper bar needs to have proper toilets. With proper facilities, we are able regulate and monitor.”
The tough stance that the Livingstone council has taken should send a clear message to those who break the law to think twice.
As Ms Mapemba warned, the council will not just end at confiscating the alcohol and the articles being used to brew the alcohol but will take the offenders to court.
“Now, offenders, we are not just going to end on confiscating the articles that they are using to produce their merchandise but some are selling lagers, Chibuku and the so-called bowls. We are not going to end at fining them but we are taking them to the magistrate court,” she said.
This will teach the truant residents that illegalities do not pay.
We do not think anyone would cry foul for being prosecuted on account of operating a shebeen. They should in fact be punished for this criminal offence which also promotes promiscuity in residential areas.
It is important that residential areas, not only in Livingstone but throughout the country must be