By Irene Moyo
MAKOKOBA residents in Bulawayo have raised concern over an increase in shebeens and drug peddling which they say could be behind a recent spike in criminal activities in the area.
Makokoba high-density suburb is rated as one of the most dangerous places in Bulawayo due to a high crime rate. The rising number of shebeens and drug peddling in the area is, however, posing a serious threat to the future of youth, according to the residents.
“What is happening in Makokoba is disappointing. Youths have become monsters due to consumption of drugs. Each and every street has a shebeen and drug spots. Even reporting such issues to the police, there is no guarantee of a resolution,” resident Zandile Maphosa said last week.
“People are robbed daily even in daylight. At night some areas have since been declared no-go areas because of robberies. Even those driving are not spared from the attacks.”
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said the police were arresting all drug peddlers and shebeens owners.
“The police are arresting people who commit such crimes although we have not yet received complaints about new drugs dominating the streets these days. The fact that it is an ongoing issue means it is difficult to solve since it emerges daily,” she said.
Makokoba councillor for Ward 7, Shadreck Sibanda noted that the prevailing economic situation is forcing many to engage in illegal activities.
“We are trying to encourage residents to do away with such illegal acts but many claim to have found solace in selling these substances due to the current unemployment environment.
“Due to a high number of crimes emerging, school dropouts and more illegal activities, we had a meeting with residents, youth, Mzilikazi Police and students in schools to encourage them through campaigns against drugs. We also hope that the upcoming meeting will encourage residents and youth at large,” Sibanda said.
He added that the government should come up with ways to address spiking unemployment while the police should conduct raids in schools searching for drugs.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairman Ambrose Sibindi said the neighbourhood watch and the police should work hand-in-hand in coming up with a lasting solution to the problem.
“The neighbourhood watch and police should work together in raiding drug spots and shebeens. Those serving in the police force while also participating in these illegal activities should be held accountable. Parents should monitor the behaviour of their children,” Sibindi said.
Due to the current economic environment, most people have since resorted to drug abuse.