Bulawayo police raid unlicensed liquor outlets

Bulawayo police raid unlicensed liquor outlets
Published: 09 January 2012 (3751 Views)
POLICE in Bulawayo last Friday launched a blitz on liquor outlets operating without licences to curb the illegal selling of liquor which is prejudicing Government of thousands of dollars in revenue.

A number of bottle stores, bars, restaurants, sports bars and nightclubs were raided last Friday night and those that were found operating without a licence were ordered to close.

The police who probably expected resistance from some patrons at the beer outlets mobilised the riot police officers who were armed to the teeth to conduct the raids.

At one of the bars, the riot police who were under the command of a woman, stormed the bar and ordered the playing of the music to stop. The woman commander then announced to the patrons that the bar had been closed.

"This bar has been closed because it has been operating without a licence. You are therefore ordered to leave one after the other and no movement in groups as this could be construed as engaging in violence," she said.

After the announcement the patrons started trooping out in a single file as ordered.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed the blitz yesterday but could not give the exact number of businesses that were closed after the operation.

"I can confirm that there was such an operation on Friday night and it was part of our normal operations where we ensure that every bar displays the liquor licence," he said.

Section 85 (2) of the Liquor Act says, "A licencee shall ensure that his/her licence is prominently displayed at all times upon the licenced premises to which it relates."

"Where there is no licence, that bar is closed. We are just doing our jobs of enforcing the law," said Insp Moyo.

Inspector Moyo urged such enterprises to stick to stipulated hours of operating.

"You find that these operators open early and close late, which is not in line with their licences.

"We have a department that deals with licences and we expect these operators to co-operate. They should comply with the law. Forewarned is forearmed," he said.

The licence board in conjunction with the local authority issues the licences.

Most liquor outlets have expired licences but continue to operate until morning, against the provisions of their licences.

Licenced premises are required by the Liquor Act, in terms of Section 27 to apply for an Extended Hours/Occasional Licence that authorises them to sale liquor to bona fide members of the public attending social functions.

Nightclubs are required to close at 3am but are together with all other outlets, which are supposed to close at 10.30pm extending their business hours to 6am.

Some of the outlets even double up as restaurants and use a single liquor licence while some operate as night clubs yet they do not have the Night Club Liquor Licence specified in Section 43, which calls for such premises to have enough space to accommodate patrons.

- TC

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