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Mbabane nightspots having it easy

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MBABANE – The Liquor Licence Act seems to be relaxed in Mbabane as two hotspots in the city were found selling alcohol without being bothered by the police way after 4am.

Police have been busy in Manzini for the past few weeks by shutting down places which were selling alcohol after midnight.
When this newspaper visited two very popular entertainment nightspots (names withheld for now) during the early hours of Saturday morning, they were found selling alcohol to their customers without being bothered by police.

Patrons were found enjoying their drinks and dancing the night away in the first spot. When they were interviewed, they said this was the norm in the club. A customer who was interviewed in the second nightspot said the place always sold alcohol until it closed. He said it was very rare for police to come to the place except when there were fights.

When reached for comment, police spokesperson Vusi Masuku denied that the law was relaxed in the city. He said they did close down places which were selling alcohol after midnight without the permit.
“We do close down places in Mbabane. The only problem is that maybe you are not there when this happens,” he said.
When quizzed about the two places which were found to be selling alcohol after the extension had expired on Friday, Masuku said they would investigate if these places violated the law.

Responsibility

An officer of the Liquor Licence Department, Esther Matsebula, clarified that the licence Act stipulates that nightspots are allowed to sell alcohol until midnight. She said after this, they could get an extension permit from the Regional Secretary in their region, which lasts for three hours. She said everyone found selling alcohol at 4am was breaking the law. She said it was the responsibility of the police to deal with these people.  

Matsebula also clarified that getting a licence to run a disco and getting a licence to sell alcohol were two different things.
An employee of the first club referred all questions to the owner, who, however, was still not reachable as his phone rang unanswered several times. Efforts to get comment from the owner of the other long time popular spot proved futile as his phone also rang unanswered between 11am and 1:15pm.

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