City beer halls to shut

2015-08-13 06:00
The Retief Street eMatsheni Beer Hall is expected to be shut down and the area redeveloped.
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

The Retief Street eMatsheni Beer Hall is expected to be shut down and the area redeveloped. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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THE closure of the city’s two infamous beer halls will contribute toward fighting crime in the city.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said that 50% of crimes in the city either emanated from, or ended at, the beer halls in Masukwana (East) and Retief streets.

His comments follow a proposal by the economic development portfolio committee to shut down the beer halls, which was recently passed by council’s executive committee (Exco).

“I have sat with the Pietermaritzburg cluster commander, Major-General Lucas Ngobeni, and we both admit that the current beer halls cannot be used for business or accommodation. We also agreed that by shutting down these beer halls it will contribute immensely to fighting crime in the city,” said Nkosi­ at a recent council meeting at the city hall.

It was also proposed that council “take steps to evict all illegal inhabitants”, and secure the two beer halls in the city centre while the process of appointing an architect to redevelop the area is being undertaken.

“The buildings are being utilised to perpetrate criminal activity in and around the areas where they are located. This is a cause for concern as it directly impacts on the safety of the public,” read the report from the economic development portfolio committee.

The Masukwana (East) Street Beer Hall has been “hijacked” by illegal tenants who are using the property for housing. The Retief Street, eMatsheni beer hall is being used to trade various products “with emphasis on traditional herbs”. Police also consider the eMatsheni Beer Hall a “hot spot” for criminal activity, due to the sale of dagga and other illegal substances in and around it.

“Currently the functioning of these buildings is not regulated by the municipality which has led to the buildings being dilapidated and in an undesirable state,” said the economic development portfolio committee.

The committee said there is a need for a “detailed assessment” of the buildings and the re-assignment of appropriate land uses that will generate income for the municipality and also be “aesthetically pleasing”.

The proposed project aims to create a socially and economically safe environment for trade that will uplift the area

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