City beer halls to be closed down

2015-08-12 06:00
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Fifty percent of crimes in the city either emanated from, or ended at, the beer halls in Masukwana (East) and Retief streets.

PHOTO: Ian Carbutt Fifty percent of crimes in the city either emanated from, or ended at, the beer halls in Masukwana (East) and Retief streets.

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MUNICIPAL manager, Mxolisi Nkosi, said that the infamous city beer halls that have been running for many years are the biggest contributing factors to the high crime statistics in PMB.

After discussing the issue with Pietermaritzburg cluster commander, Major-General Lucas Ngobeni, Nkosi said that 50% of crimes in the city either emanated from, or ended at, the beer halls in Masukwana (East) and Retief streets.

The decision to shut down the beer halls was recently passed by council’s executive committee (Exco) following the proposal by the city’s economic development portfolio committee.

He said there were two beer halls in the city that were the cause of various illegal activities. The Masukwana (East) Street beer hall, which will be the first to be closed, has been taken over 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”. Nkosi said the beer hall was handed over to the municipality last year and was previously owned by the Department of Public Works.

According to the report presented to Exco, the functioning of these buildings is not regulated by the municipality and this has led to the buildings being dilapidated and in an undesirable state.

“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 will contribute immensely to fighting crime in the city,” said Nkosi.

He recommended that during the closure of the beer halls there should be security at the premises to ensure that illegal activities have stopped and that the area remains vacant until such time the municipality makes a decision as to what to do with the property.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said that the statistics of crime resulting from the operation of the beer halls was shocking and said the city will do whatever it can to help authorities fight against crime.

“This is an amazing stat, thank goodness we have identified the problem and are addressing it - this gives us great hope for the future.”

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