By-Residents in Harare are complaining that brothels and shebeens are on the increase, and they fear that if not monitored, this would lead to drug use and prostitution.
People are resorting to all forms of business ventures, including prostitution, drug selling, and beer, due to high levels of unemployment.
In addition, the loud music, foul language, and criminal activities at these establishments are affecting other residents.
Although it is illegal for house owners to turn their properties into business enterprises, enforcing these laws is challenging.
Harare Residents Trust director, Precious Shumba, said they had received numerous reports of young girls and boys being lured to drug bases in different suburbs, with shebeens becoming a major scene for human interactions.
“Brothels and shebeens are a social reality with the high levels of unemployment. People resort to all forms of business ventures to survive the hardships.
“The major challenge is that these shebeens play loud music, which affects other residents,” he said.
Harare Provincial Police spokesperson, Inspector Luckmore Chakanza, said they had also recorded a rise in shebeens and unlicensed business operations such as rigs.
“We are receiving reports of noise pollution and places like air BnBs are now hideouts for criminals,” he said.
“Juvenile delinquency and illicit behaviour are the order of the day. Sex parties and drug dealings are rampant in those places.”
Harare City Council spokesperson, Innocent Ruwende, said it is illegal for house owners to turn their premises into business enterprises or for shops to run parallel operations outside those stipulated in their licences.
“It is illegal because businesses are given licences for what they applied to use them for,” he said.
“Anything other than the business they registered to operate is illegal.
“It is, however, difficult to enforce bylaws. There must be a complaint and the public has to identify these places and report to us because most of these shenanigans happen during the night and we might not be able to notice them.”