By Nqobile Tshili
Police in Bulawayo have arrested 33 youths from Pelandaba West suburb for hosting an illegal birthday party in violation of national Level Four lockdown regulations.
Under Level Four National Lockdown all social gatherings are banned as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The 33 youths who are between 16 and 25 years of age were arrested on Saturday at about 10.30PM by police officers who were on patrol.
Thirteen of them were females and sources allege that the party to celebrate the host, Makhosini Sibanda’s birthday, was organised through WhatsApp.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the arrests yesterday.
He said it was worrying that police continue to arrest young people for hosting illegal parties.
“This is a matter of concern as we are repeatedly arresting young people for hosting parties during the lockdown regulations. This is the third time within a short space of time that we have arrested young people including minors for holding illegal parties. These parties are hosted in homes where adults are not at home as in this case, the home owner is someone who is based in Botswana,” he said.
Insp Ncube urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children as some of them were engaging in anti-social activities such as alcohol and drug abuse.
“We are arresting young people, some who are 17 years of age and it worries us as the police that people of such age groups will not be home in the middle of the night. What is worrying about the parties is that they expose the girl child to abuse and often teaches youths substance abuse that leads to serious addictions. As police we have recorded several cases where the girl child is raped during such parties,” said Insp Ncube.
Sources said cops who were on patrol discovered that there was unusual activity at the house where the youths wee merry-making.
“This was already after the curfew hours and when the police officers arrived at the house, the suspects entered the house and started making noise while inside. The police officers called for backup and when the revellers realised that they had nowhere to hide, they opened the door leading to their arrest. There were empty alcohol bottles at the scene,” said the source.
Meanwhile, the suspects yesterday briefly appeared before West Commonage Magistrate Courts facing charges of flouting Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
Two weeks, ago police arrested 10 youths aged between 18 and 19 years for holding a vuzu party in Emganwini suburb.
The youths took advantage of the fact that the house owner is based in South Africa.
Three weeks ago, police also arrested 12 people, including eight minors for holding an illegal party in Pumula South suburb.
The party host was a 23-year-old man who escaped as police raided his home.
He also lived alone as both his parents are late. The Chronicle