Sunridge bars face closure

30 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Sunridge bars face closure Every weekend Sunridge Shopping Centre is packed with cars of public drinkers.


THE City of Harare says it will not renew the operating permits of the bars located at Sunridge shops and Sherwood Golf Course in Mabelreign which are being blamed for moral decadence and noise pollution in the two suburbs.

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

In addition to the council business operating permit, liquor outlets also need a licence from the Liquour Licensing Board.  

Patrons frequenting the bars at Sunridge Shopping Centre and Sherwood Golf Course have become a menace to residents. 

According to residents, the patrons practice public drinking at the shops and harass women and girls visiting the shops for shopping. 

The patrons are also accused of inconveniencing residents by parking their cars in front of residents’ houses blocking them from accessing or leaving their properties. 

They also relieve themselves on the security walls of people’s properties and are blamed for immoral behaviour such as prostitution while some of them are into criminal activities raising security concerns. 

Speaking at a meeting with Sunridge residents called to discuss the noise pollution and other inconveniences brought about by the bars and their clients, acting district officer for Mabelreign and Marlborough, Mrs Jane Gambiza told residents council was in the process of taking action against the bars and bottle stores at Sunridge shops and Sherwood Golf Course. 

The meeting was held on Sunday at Hallingbury Primary School. Mrs Gambiza said they have since assigned the city health inspector in charge of the area to stop issuing permits to the businesspeople running bars at Sunridge.

She said she is yet to find out when the current permits expire and if they can withdraw the permits immediately or wait for them to lapse and then not renew. 

“But waiting for the lapsing of their permits, if it’s next year, then it’s impossible, we have to do something,” said Mrs Gambiza.

She said Sherwood Golf Course requires police clearance for them to host live musical shows.

“It’s just a golf course. They are not supposed to have open air music shows but they are holding open air music shows and it’s so loud.

“I have gone there on several occasions every weekend.

“Last night (Saturday) I was there at around 11pm asking them to reduce their volume but it’s now beyond us and we are now working on withdrawing their permit,” she said. 

Mrs Gambiza said the city’s development control unit also issues notices stating what is expected of owners of business premises. 

“Even at your premises they can start with billing you for an illegal activity and they then start taking the necessary steps,” said Mrs Gambiza. 

She urged residents to be patient as the process of having the liquor outlets closed is lengthy.

Mrs Gambiza said council expects to be complemented by other law enforcement agencies like the Zimbabwe Republic Police in enforcing council by-laws.

“Our municipal officers work from 8am to 5pm.

“So we are thinking maybe the ZRP, they will join hands with Harare Municipal Police to do something at Sunridge. 

“Whatever we will be doing, we will work with the ZRP,” she said.

Suburban visited Sunridge shops last weekend and observed the front parking area packed with cars as revellers enjoyed their drinks. Other revellers parked their cars behind the shopping centre where they were braaing meat. Vendors prepared sadza and other foods to sell to the beer drinkers.

Some of the drinkers were partaking from their cars and listening to music in their cars in the parking area while others were playing pool.

Mrs Gambiza said there should be one bar at Sunridge shops that has a licence for a bar and the rest should be bottle stores. There is also a butchery at the shops. 

“So the bottle stores and even the butchery according to our by-laws, they are supposed to close as early 8pm to 8.30pm.

“They don’t go beyond 8.30pm unless it is a bar then they are allowed to go beyond that time.  We don’t expect butcheries to operate beyond the time they are doing,” said Mrs Gambiza. 

She said permits for bottle stores and bars stipulate operating times and the type of liquour they are supposed to sell.  

“Supermarkets, butcheries and bars when we give them their permits, they are charged according to the operations they are carrying out. 

“We know they are not doing as they are supposed to.

“They are going beyond (their operating times). Like the butcheries, we don’t expect anyone to buy meat after 7pm or 8pm, it’s rare. And according their permits, there’s a stipulated time. 

“According to our by-laws, those are the times they should be operating then the issue of what they are selling, they are going against their permit. They are selling what they are not supposed to be selling,” said Mrs Gambiza. 

She said there is only one or two bars that have a license for a bar and that are allowed to go beyond 8pm but are not allowed to go beyond 10pm.

Mrs Gambiza said bottle store licenses state that revellers should not drink at the premises where they buy the beer.

“Bottle store licences state that revellers should buy and leave the premises. So we are aware of that situation,” she said. 

Mrs Gambiza said they met the bottle store owners and all of them attended except for one. She said prior to the meeting, the bars and bottle store operators said they wanted to combine efforts and pave their car park. 

“We called them referring to that agenda that they wanted to do paving for their car park.

“We then introduced our issue (noise pollution and nuisance).  That’s when we invited them to the first meeting but somehow they were quite alert and didn’t come to the other meeting. They were blaming their customers for remaining on the premises after buying beer,” said Mrs Gambiza.

She said council had given them a verbal warning before.

“And at that meeting, we gave them another verbal warning,” said Mrs Gambiza.

She said council wrote to them advising them how their operations are disturbing the community in terms of security in the area, damaging infrastructure around and the value of nearby properties and most importantly, the noise pollution as the music is played at high volume as well as the unscrupulous activities taking place in patrons’ cars, which she said is unacceptable.

“So we have all followed all those procedures calling them for a meeting and writing to them,” said Mrs Gambiza.

Residents at the meeting said they want supermarkets, a pharmacy and businesses that do not reduce the value of the area at that shopping centre.

“This is less than a growth point. It’s bad, the infrastructure is bad, there are no toilets,” said the resident.

She said she has to clean up after the revellers’ mess every day.

“Every day I wear gloves and pick litter, human waste and used condoms. It’s bad,” said the resident.  

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