RESIDENTS of Mpopoma last week took to the streets to protest against beerhalls, beer gardens and bars in the suburb that allow and sell alcohol to minors as young as 13 years, pinning the high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in their location on the bars.
The protests, which were marshalled by police and led by senior citizens of the suburb, were meant to raise concern, as there was a feeling that immorality and vice were on the increase.
Scores of placard waving residents gathered at 8am last Wednesday and staged a peaceful walk from Patapata, passing through Goveya, then Kongo, they proceeded to Mayihlome, Mathonisa and ended at Esibayeni.
Violet Tshabalala, the ward residents’ chairperson, said they had written petitions to the six different bars and beerhalls requesting they stop allowing under aged individuals in their bars and stop selling alcohol to people below 18 years.
Patapata, Goveya, Kongo and Mayihlome beerhalls staff accepted the petitions and promised to take them to their employers, while also working on demanding identity cards prior to entrance at their premises.
However, the staff at Esibayeni leisure joint openly rejected the petition, claiming they have full authority to allow anyone that wants to buy anything from them, as they were granted the permission to do so by the councillor Charles Moyo.
“The manager at Esibayeni refused to give us his name but said the councillor (Moyo) said even if they want to sell alcohol to minors they could do so, now we have no authority as the people we trusted with our community have let us down,” Tshabalala said.
“The mayhem during the festive season was disgusting at Esibayeni, as you could see girls as young as 13 visibly drunk coming from there very late at night.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and we will take further action as a peaceful protest is seemingly not enough for Esibayeni.”
Mathonisa Beerhall management accepted the petition, but explained to the ward resident’s chairperson that they have no full control over minors taking alcohol, as sometimes elders give the children beer.
“At Mathonisa, adults buy their alcohol then invite minors to come join them,” she said.
“It is now the guardian’s duty to monitor their children’s movements, as their regular visits to bars expose them to unwanted pregnancies, STIs, Aids and sometimes rape.” Contacted for comment, Moyo said the allegations against him were untrue and were created to sully his image.
“These are pure lies and offside talk made to destroy my councillorship,” he said. “I have no such authority and did not discuss anything with Esibayeni management.”