Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE in Bulawayo over the weekend arrested nearly 300 people during raids at shebeens and other nightspots.
Zimbabwe is under level 4 lockdown and there is a 6.30PM to 6AM curfew, while bars and nightclubs remain closed.
Police say in the near future, there could be a custodial sentence for repeat offenders. Suburbs like Nkulumane, according to police, are among the trouble spots as shebeens have been operating.
In the city centre, last Saturday, scores of people were arrested at a local drinking spot and they were taken to the Bulawayo Central Police Station.
Bulawayo Police spokesperson Inspector Abedinico Ncube said:
“During the weekend, a total of 274 people were arrested in connection with alcohol related cases. That is operating shebeens, bottle stores and public drinking, contravening Covid-19 regulations. Quite a number of people were arrested for improper use of facemasks, but of note was the raids of shebeens in Nkulumane and other suburbs,” said Inspector Ncube.
He said some of those arrested were repeat offenders, who in the near future might be jailed.
“What we do is confiscate the beer and the equipment that is used. Repeat offenders are taken to court. We are foreseeing in the near future that there will be custodial sentences for those who are continuously breaking the law,” said Inspector Ncube.
He urged members of the public to report to the police, shebeens and nightspots that are operating against lockdown regulations.
“We still urge people to comply with the law and desist from operating shebeens. Apart from contravening of Covid-19 regulations, the operation of shebeens is illegal in terms of the law. They are also seen as a hive of activity where criminals thrive, where they waylay their victims. We also ask the members of the public to continue to report these people who operate illegally,” said Inspector Ncube. -Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi