IN a shocking incident, 10 juveniles aged between four and 10 years allegedly broke into a bar in Hwange, stole beer worth about $2 500 and consumed some of it.
Like in a film script, the lads reportedly entered Jabulani Beerhall at Number One suburb through a drainage pipe at the back of the premises on Monday morning.
Sources who are privy to the incident told The Chronicle that three children who were the ringleaders, broke into the beer, stole different kinds of liquor.
They went on a boozing spree, before distributing some of the alcohol to members of the public.
A parent of one of the boys who cannot be named to protect the identity of the juvenile, said he was shocked when he was phoned about the issue.
“I was at work when I received a phone call stating that some children including my son had broken into Jabulani Beerhall.
They allegedly used the drainage pipe to enter the closed beerhall and surprisingly consumed beer worth $2 500,” said the parent.
He said on the scene there were some empty bottles of cane spirits.
The parent said it was shocking that kids below the age of 10 could and were consuming alcohol.
“As a parents we wondered how children could consume such alcohol without getting drunk. There are suspicions that some members of the community took advantage and looted the beer after the incident.
‘What is of concern is that three parents whose children were ring leaders were made to pay the $2 500 for an offence committed by minors who at law cannot be charged. While we are concerned as parents about this incident, we are also equally worried about how it was handled because there was no justice by making parents pay,” said the parent.
The Chronicle was told the three ring leaders were taken to police in the company of their parents who were ordered to compensate the bar owner.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Makonese could not comment on the issue as she was out of office.
Hwange Local Board councillor for ward 9, Cllr Fani Chirwa in whose ward the incident took place, said the incident is a sign of lack of monitoring of children by parents.
“This is a confusing incident because it’s as if we are failing as parents to keep our children safe at home not only from coronavirus but from various kinds of abuse including substance abuse. Let’s try to keep our children at home as much as possible especially given these Covid-19 times. Kids are safer at home because outside they get influenced into various misdemeanours. We have to help each other as parents and community to maintain order and ensure a safer environment for our children,” said Cllr Chirwa.
Greater Whange Residents Trust coordinator Mr Fidelis Chima concurred.
He said children could be tired of staying indoors because of the lockdown.
“We are shocked that young boys can do such a thing. We implore parents to monitor children so they are safe from Covid-19 and other abuses. This is a sad development and it’s partly because there are no recreational activities because of the lockdown which left schools closed,” said Mr Chima.