Ward 17 residents in Bulawayo have raised concern at the noise pollution emanating from sports bars and other entertainment venues in the area saying they now find it hard to sleep.
Ward 17 covers Pumula North, Hyde Park Villages, and Hyde Park.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) yesterday held a meeting in Pumula North Hall where some residents argued that sports bars create more problems than benefits.
In an interview with CITE, BPRA secretary for administration Thembelani Dube said that these sports bars violet the regulations specified on their licenses.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) regulations stipulate that bottle stores must close at 7.30pm, sports bars at 10pm while special restaurants must close at 12 midnight.
“Pumula Constituency sports bars are in Pumula South, Ashys and Makoni shopping centre,” said Dube.
“Yesterday residents said that the noise coming from the bars was an issue particularly when people left at kick-out time in the evenings.
“We have no problem with what happens inside the bars. It is basically when people are leaving the sports bars, hanging out and screaming outside.”
BPRA secretary for administration said that some of these bars are exposing young girls in the ward to way ward behaviour.
“Some of them open up to the early hours of the morning next in the process young girls, including school going learners are exposed to the rowdy behaviour. Not only that we have students, professionals who have to teach in the morning and they need a good night sleep.”
Dube added that gender-based violence in homes is on the increase because of these sports bars in the community citing that drunk youths and husbands turn against their female counterparts and spouses when they are drunk.
He emphasised that the antisocial behaviour in the high-density suburbs has worsened in recent years, adding that “residents deserve peace and quiet.”
In response ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo explained that residents have to approve the establishment of sports bars before the local authority licences them.
Cllr Moyo said that, residents have absolutely every right to voice their opinions.
“The council always sends letters to residents whenever someone one has identified an area that they want for their sports bars and the residents have every right to object.
“But I think that the problem is that the residents do not go through the letters or they think that the council would have already approved which is not the case,” explained Cllr Moyo.
She said that more needs to be done to educate the residents on their rights when it comes to the establishment of sports bars in the community.
“I will make it a point that every time the council sends a letter to the residents, we organize a meeting and discuss it as a community before the councillors make a vote.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Moyo concurred that there should be strict monitoring of the sports bars by the BCC.