KEETMANSHOOP - Residents of Aroab in the //Kharas Region are up in arms with authorities whom they accuse of paying little attention to their poor socio-economic circumstances at the struggling village.
The concerned group demonstrated last week over the alarming rate of stock theft, bad policing and poor public service delivery.
Reading out their petitions to the council and police on behalf of the group, Gertjie Witbooi, secretary for the Aroab Small Farmers Cooperative, indicated the community of Aroab was deeply concerned and worried by the increasing and alarming rate at which crime and alcohol and drug abuse were soaring at the village.
One of the main issues at the village, he said, is stock theft and how criminal cases in this regard are handled by the police/
Witbooi continued by expressing the community’s anxiety resulting from their fear that ‘the office do not protect the Aroab small farmers if it comes to losing of animals through stock theft and feel that the council should open a case of trespassing in case of a stock theft case’.
“We question the manner at which the case of the February 20, 2019 was handled and asked for a re-opening of the case with immediate effect. This was the case in which 4 suspects were apprehended by the small farmers and hand over to the police as the evidence had linked them to the slaughtering and theft of 49 sheep as from early December 2018,” said Witbooi.
As a remedial measure to this incident he informed the responsible parties that they want this case to be re-investigated by independent police officers. In addition, they felt that stock theft suspects should be denied bail and not get fine as an option for punishment. They must be permanently removed from the society, they demanded.
In their petition to the police, the community demanded that the presence of law enforcement in their area be more visible by means of carrying out continuous roadblocks and border patrols.
Other issues of concern from the group with regard to law enforcement includes, amongst others, that officers should not be in cahoots with criminals. They want fair and just investigations, application of consistency when handling cases of similar nature, and the closure of illegal shebeens selling traditional ‘gemmerbier’ brew to pensioners.
The also slammed the fact that police at the village only has one vehicle for their operations.
They also demanded that police officers in Aroab be reshuffled or transferred because they are allegedly failing to maintain efficient and effective law enforcement.
Receiving the petition, Warrant Officer Lukas Hamukoto, station commander of Aroab police station, promised to forward their petition as soon as possible to the relevant authorities. In their petition addressed to the village council, the group felt that they (council) should act stricter towards persons entering property hired out by them. “The village council should stop to give accommodation to illegal persons,” stressed Witbooi.
They further requested that job creation programmes should be implemented immediately for the inhabitants and youth of Aroab, saying outsiders are currently given all contracts which leads to labour disputes due to ill-treatment of locals. Lastly, they suggested an ‘Omake’ cleanup campaign and furthermore asked for ‘the immediate proof fencing of the town lands next to the roads since this ‘can hold out persons and dogs who would want to enter and cause problems’.
Willem van Wyk, chairperson of council’s management committee promised to arrange an audience with the concerned group in order to address their grievances.
2019-03-13 09:36:39 4 months ago