GOVERNMENT is working on legalising shebeens, with their registration expected to start in the next two months.
The announcement comes three years after Government first revealed that it was working on a policy to legalise shebeens to promote local tourism.
Responding to legislators during the National Assembly’s question and answer session on Wednesday, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry
Prisca Mupfumira said the shebeens will have to first register with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) before Government grants them licences.
“What we are in the process of doing as a Ministry is to ensure that all tourist activities, shebeens, lodges or whatever are registered with the Ministry through ZTA. So, we have the next two months to register such,” she said.
Mupfumira urged community leaders to encourage shebeen owners to register their operations so that they can benefit from the tourism activities. “I would urge Honourable members to advise us of any lodges you might find mushrooming in the residential areas so that we register them. Once we register, we will be able to find out what activities they are carrying out and if they are not lawful, the law will take care of whatever is unlawful. I am talking about registration,” said Mupfumira.
The Minister said this while responding to Mutoko East MP Ricky Mawere who had expressed reservations on legalising shebeens or the practice by some people to turn their homes into lodges saying it would increase prostitution in suburbs.
“My concern Mr. Speaker is that the loose morals will break out and hence, our culture will be eroded. I know it can be tourism but the aspect of eroding our culture is un-African,” said Mawere.
However, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda allayed fears that shebeens will be prostitution hotspots saying once legalised they would adhere to the tourism policy.
“I thought the Minister has already addressed that by saying that all those institutions must be registered and they will make sure that they comply with the Tourism Policy,” said the Speaker.