Windhoek Gets 12 Liquor Licences Per Month

THE Khomas Liquor Licence Committee is giving out 12 licences per month on average in Windhoek, and has issued about 85 since January this year.

The liquor committee that sits once a month, consists of representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Khomas Regional Council, Namibian police and consumer and lobby groups. Liquor licences are issued to shebeens, restaurants, hotels, bottle stores, clubs and wholesalers.

Statistics made available to The Namibian by a source show that from last year until now, the committee gave out 207 licences.

The chairperson of the committee, Magistrate Cosmos Endjala, refused to comment on the issue through his secretary, saying he does not talk to the media. The source told The Namibian that when the committee sits, no consumer or lobby groups are represented.

“These groups are never represented and what happens is that the committee relies on the City of Windhoek’s certificate of fitness. If that letter is present then we issue the licence,” the source said.

The director at Women Solidarity Namibia (WSN), Rosa Namises said the mushrooming of shebeens, especially in residential areas in Katutura, is alarming.

“We want to know if there is no groupbody that can control this mushrooming of shebeens. Doesn’t the liquor committee, the City Police and Ministry of Trade and Industry come together and decide that we have had enough shebeens especially in residential areas, and cut down on the issuing of the licences,” she asked.

Namises also said they “feel that the shebeens are also a contributing factor to the violence against women and children”.

“You will find that at most of these shebeens, there are small rooms which are illegal brothels. We are calling on the liquor committee, City of Windhoek and ministry of trade to work together on this,” Namises said.

Chief of the City Police Abraham Kamine said they have a smooth relationship with the liquor committee.

“We are having good working relations with all the stakeholders involved in the issuing of liquor licences. However, when we receive complaints and petitions from the public, we discuss them with the relevant stakeholders and try our best to come up with a solution,” Kamine said.

The former director of commerce at the ministry of trade and industry, who is also the chief executive officer of Business and Intellectual Property Authority, Tileinge Andima, said the ministry does not deal directly with the issuing of liquor licences.

“The ministry has decentralised the issuing of liquor licences to all regional liquor licencing committees that are chaired by chief regional magistrates,” Andima said.

The manager of corporate communications and customer care at the City of Windhoek, Joshua Amukugo, said a certificate of licence is issued when the premises complies with general health regulations.

“This requires structural requirements, ventilation, lighting, heights, floor space, storage and drainage, among others,” Amukugo said.

Asked if the certificate of fitness can be approved without a consent letter from the neighbours, he said: “It is rare that you find neighbours refusing to sign, unless they have ulterior motives. If this happens, council may intervene to verify the real facts and give proper aice to both parties.”

Source : The Namibian