Tshabangu Mayor Pushes For Closure of Beer Shops
19 March 2024
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By A Correspondent | Sengezo Tshabangu CCC, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has voiced support for the government’s decision to prohibit stand-alone liquor stores in the Central Business District (CBD) of Harare, suggesting an expansion of the ban to residential areas.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Mafume expressed his approval of the government’s initiative, emphasizing the need for extending such measures beyond the CBD due to the adverse effects of numerous liquor stores on societal well-being.

“This is a positive step. The scope of this action should encompass residential areas as well. The proliferation of liquor stores has contributed to the rise of substance abuse and moral deterioration,” stated Mafume.

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in Zimbabwe (SAAPA ZW), an advocacy group against substance abuse, echoed Mafume’s sentiments, praising the government’s move as a significant stride toward safeguarding public health and welfare.
In a released statement, SAAPA ZW urged for collaborative efforts among governmental bodies, civil society organizations, and stakeholders to formulate and enforce evidence-based alcohol policies, aimed at fostering a safer and healthier environment for all citizens.

Last week, the government announced its decision to withhold the renewal of licenses for stand-alone bottle stores operating within the Harare CBD, effective upon the expiry of their current permits in June.

According to Gabriel Masvora, the Communications and Advocacy Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, all liquor retailing licenses in Harare CBD will cease upon expiration on June 30. He emphasized that only liquor stores within supermarkets will be permitted to operate within the CBD thereafter.

This regulatory action aligns with recent measures introduced to combat substance abuse and illegal alcohol distribution.

Masvora further stated that liquor outlets posing threats to public safety will not receive automatic license renewals for 2024, stressing the importance of compliance with established regulations.

The proliferation of alcohol retail outlets in central Harare has raised concerns among authorities, attributed to minimal barriers to entry into the sector, coupled with insufficient enforcement of licensing and regulatory protocols.

Under the newly unveiled regulations, nightclubs without essential safety features such as soundproofing, air conditioning, and insurance will be ineligible for licensing. Additionally, specific requirements regarding restroom facilities, fire safety equipment, and structural standards have been outlined to ensure the safety and well-being of patrons and the public.

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