Booze sellers in trouble for defying lockdown

Clampdown on informal businesses

31 March 2020 | Business

All they are concerned is what will they eat while at home. – Rauha Amwele, Police commissioner: Oshana


Police in the north have arrested five people who refused to close their informal busi­nesses. One of them is a teacher who owns a shebeen at Onambutu village in the Ohangwena region. According to the Oshana police commander, commissioner Rauha Amwele, some people are more interested in making money than in complying with the national state of emergency.

Besides the three-week lockdown in the Khomas and Erongo regions, local authorities in other parts of the country also took steps to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the state of emergency, alcohol sales are prohibited countrywide.

Town councils in the north ordered the closure of informal businesses, but according to the police some people are not complying.


The Oshana police have arrested one person, while Ohangwena arrested four.

“Since we started on Saturday, things are going well, but there are people who are not complying. These people do not have an understanding of the disease and why they are told to close. All they are concerned is what will they eat while at home,” Amwele said.

“We know that people need to sell to earn a living, but during this critical time they are urged to stay away. This is done to protect them and their families from the virus. Many people from anywhere visit their business and nobody knows how they are.”

The owner of Oshana Mall in Ongwediva, Ben Zaaruka, said he was considering closing the mall and leaving only banks and a large supermarket operating.


The Ohangwena police spokesperson, warrant officer Kaume Itumba, said the biggest culprits are those who are on forced leave and now use the opportunity to make extra money by selling booze.

“At Onambutu we have arrested a school teacher who owns a bar there and clashed with police officers who ordered his bar to be closed.

“At Omahenge we have arrested three people who attempted to fight the police. There is also another person who went to the hospital after he was beaten up by police officers when he attacked them,” Itumba said.

“Our aim is not to arrest individuals, only if they are not complying with the operation. We are getting problems from civilised people who are supposed to have an understanding of what is going on.”