ROW OVER THREAT TO SHUT SHEBEENS
DOZENS OF unlicenced Khayelitsha shebeen owners yesterday threatened to shut down a police station, after they were ordered to stop their operations.
The shebeen owners said they got angry after police at the Khayelitsha station distributed a notice on Tuesday, saying that the selling of liquor without a licence "must stop with immediate effect".
Citing the new Liquor Act, the notice said trading without a licence was a punishable offence.
Yesterday morning tensions ran high as the shebeen owners protested in and outside the station, blaming Gregory Goss, the new station commissioner, for the notice.
They accused Goss of "not knowing how things were done in Khayelitsha" and failing to consult the community police forum.
Western Cape Shebeen Association chairperson Mauritz Rossouw had his hands full trying to calm down the shebeen owners and call off the protest.
He told them he was busy negotiating with economic development and tourism MEC Alan Winde to ensure that they get a "unique permit" allowing them to trade.
The shebeen owners eventually won the day when Rossouw reached an agreement with the police that they would not implement their threat.
They also agreed to co-operate with police in combating crime at shebeens, and to ban pupils and pregnant women from entering their taverns.
By mid-morning the shebeen owners left the station, saying they would continue with their business.
But Goss told Sowetan he would crack down on "problematic" shebeens.
"If we find children in shebeens we are going to be severe," he warned.
He conceded that residents of Khayelitsha had no place to hang out except in shebeens.
"If residents were to go to the city centre to drink in pubs they would likely be robbed on their way home," Goss said.