Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
BARELY five months after the opening of Hlabangana Lounge in Bulawayo, the popular outdoor joint has reportedly been shut down by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), allegedly due to licensing issues.
Situated at Highlanders Football Clubhouse, the spot was opened on Africa Day, nearly a year after socialite Babongile Sikhonjwa was awarded the lease by Bosso.
However, last Friday, as people were getting into the groove of the weekend, reports say employees from the BCC ordered the shutdown. It is not clear why the place was shut down and which bylaws its operation violated.
Sources though said the BCC was not happy with how the place was being run. It is also alleged that residents at the Coronation Cottages for the elderly, just across the road from Hlabangana Lounge, and surrounding ratepayers had inundated the local authority with complaints over noise levels at the venue.
Other sources said there was a problem with the water system there, which would have led to a potential health hazard since it was a joint that was serving food.
Chronicle Showbiz this Sunday visited the lounge and the place was deserted with the only activity being social football teams playing on the dusty fields at the venue.
Sikhonjwa when asked about the issue, referred questions to the Highlanders Football Club CEO Nhlanhla Dube who said he was out of the city before directing this reporter to Bosso chairman Kenneth Mhlophe. Mhlophe’s mobile phone went unanswered.
Chronicle Showbiz also fielded questions to the BCC who also did not respond.
Hlabangana Lounge had become the ‘‘it’’ place for many revellers as they would throng the place on weekends. This was because entry was free unlike other places of pleasure and people were allowed in with their beverages at no cost.
Delta Beverages which was supposed to host its Braai Festival at the lounge this Saturday has since changed the venue to Sports 747.