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Home / Anger over mobile police station closure… Goreangab officers without water, electricity or toilet 

Anger over mobile police station closure… Goreangab officers without water, electricity or toilet 

2022-08-11  Loide Jason

Anger over mobile police station closure… Goreangab officers without water, electricity or toilet 

Residents of the Goreangab informal settlement are furious with the Windhoek municipal council, whom they blame for the closure of a mobile police station on the outskirts of the city, thereby depriving residents of basic police services in a crime-infested area. 

Khomas police chief Ismael Basson yesterday confirmed the decision to close down the mobile station in the informal settlement, citing a lack of basic amenities such as toilets, water and electricity. 

The residents say the Windhoek municipality failed them. Residents, who spoke to New Era on Tuesday at the
location, said the police have done a brilliant job by bringing protection services closer. 

However, they claim the municipality failed dismally to provide electricity, water and ablution facilities that any working person needs to have access to.

“Imagine a police officer in a uniform sitting in a riverbed, relieving him or herself. Those officers can leave us anytime soon. Do you think they will tolerate it in the near future? You go there at night, and the police officers are using their phones for lighting. Or sometimes their phones are off as there is no power. The City of Windhoek does not care about us,” charged another resident.

However, constituency councillor Nestor Kalola said he made requests to both the Namibian Police and the City Police to provide a mobile station to help combat rape, gender-based violence and housebreakings.

“Following the devastating news of young girls and women being raped in their shacks, I made that request, and the Namibian Police responded positively in assisting the residents. I then wrote to the City of Windhoek, addressing the matter to the mayor’s office and requesting the provision of the services. The mayor, by that time Job Amupanda, responded that the matter was being forwarded to the office of the acting CEO. Up until now, no response has been received, despite me making a lot of follow-ups,” said Kalola.

He also concurred with residents, saying the city is to be blamed because they no longer respond positively to pressing matters.

“Although it was a temporary arrangement, it is very helpful. People are happy and the crimes have reduced drastically, especially the terrifying rapes that occurred while women were sleeping in their shacks. But now you hear the station is being closed down. Just imagine going back to the same situation of a high crime- intensified area,” the councillor lamented.

 “The City of Windhoek is a custodian of both water, electricity and sewerage systems. We requested them to assist with all these, including land, but they are not helping the situation. I have the correspondence. I tried my level best to assist my people. So, the residents are right to blame the city because in the past, all the blame was placed on the regional councillor.”

Some residents told New Era that in most cases, the police officers used the riverbed after a temporary ablution facility filled up. 

“There was a blue temporary toilet provided. The police officers used to contribute to pay someone to empty it. But now I think they have given up. They now resort to calling the colleagues at the Wanaheda station to pick them up to go and use proper facilities,” said a concerned resident. The corrugated iron structure, covered with military canvas, sits on a hill in the middle of a sea of silver shacks. It has no concrete floor and is occupied by two police officers and 20 Men and Women Against Crime volunteers. The structure has housed the mobile police station in the area for over a year now. Basson said the police outlet will close down anytime soon as it was just taken there temporarily to combat crime.

“We have no permanent structure there as we do not have land. We have decided to close it down soon. It was supposed to close down a long time ago, but because the residents wanted it to continue, we decided to allow it to operate until such time that we will close it. In future, we will find a lasting solution to the problem,” he confirmed.

Khomas police spokesperson Silas Shipandeni also confirmed claims made by the residents that the police officers are indeed exposed to harsh conditions in the area.

“Our purpose was to take policing to the people. but now the conditions are bad, and the station is likely to close down. Our members indeed used to contact our colleagues at Wanaheda, but in most cases, there is no transport. As a result, they ended up using the riverbed,” he said.

The Wanaheda police station is more than five kilometres away from the mobile facility.

Members who were found at the station by this reporter refused to shed more light, saying they are not authorised to speak to the media. 

However, one of them indicated that during the day, they use a pit latrine toilet of a resident, who is 400 metres away. During the night, they simply use the riverbed.

Contacted for comment, city mayor Sade Gawanas stated that she is not aware, and will inform some councillors to accompany her to the area to familiarise herself before she comments. 

The city’s spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, poured cold water on the matter and instead questioned whether the police and the councillor consulted the municipality before erecting a mobile police station.

“We are not aware of the letters from the regional councillor to provide basic needs. Should the basic needs be provided to the mobile police station or the residents? It will be best if you provide us with the said letter. Note that we have connected community (mobile) police stations in the past. Had we received such a request, we surely would have made sure connection was made. Normally the police directly contact us to assist them with such innovative initiatives. However, no such request was received from them. Why should they close down the mobile station claiming lack of services without approaching the municipality? Such initiatives are normally collaborated with the town council as a stakeholder,” he said. 

2022-08-11  Loide Jason

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