RUNDU - The community of Ndama, the sprawling and one of the biggest informal settlements in Rundu located south of the Trans Caprivi Highway, prompted the police to open a substation under a tree in order to cope with the increased daily crime in the area.
The poorly resourced substation opened yesterday and will be operational daily from 08h00 to 17h00, enabling Ndama residents to open cases, certify their documents and make police declarations. There will also be a patrol vehicle on standby.
Ndama is notoriously known to be a high crime area in Rundu because the settlement reportedly has criminal gangs consisting mostly of unemployed youths.
It was in fact in Ndama where a 20-year-old man allegedly massacred five members of his family in July this year, a situation which could have been avoided if the police at Rundu had responded swiftly.
Several police officers are being investigated after they allegedly ignored several pleas to intervene when the man repeatedly threatened and assaulted members of that family.
In the past years, several murder cases have been reported at Ndama where there are no street lights and criminal gangs have mushroomed because there was very little policing.
“As Ndama residents, we have a need for safety, we have grievances and have shed tears as we have lost many lives due to crime being done by our kids here in Ndama, today out of all the locations surrounding Rundu, Ndama is leading in crime, so as residents, we decided to sit as a committee and stakeholders came to sit with me as their headman and discuss how we want Ndama to be as crime is high, we are being robbed, our houses are being broken into, we are being assaulted and so on including murder,” said Mpande Olavi, the headman at Ndama.
“We then decided to approach the police who are supposed to protect us, as a community, we have been requesting for police presence in Ndama, we wrote a letter to the police regional commander Commissioner Johanna Ngondo who then sent the Rundu station commander Hawanga to hear our cry and went back to brief the regional commander on our request. We followed up and decided for them to come and open their substation under this tree, what we requested has been responded to,” Mpande told New Era.
“We can’t wait until they can build up a structure, we want them to come and be here to suffer with us, they must endure the darkness and the thirst just like how we endure it, we need their presence,” Mpande noted.
Rundu currently has a population of 85 700 people scattered in different settlement around the town, namely Tutungeni, Queenspark, Millenium Park, Rainbow village, Safari, Nkarapamwe, Donkerhoek, Old NHE, Mass house NHE, Ndama, Kehemu, Kaisosi, Sauyemwa, Kasote, Sikanduko and Tuhingireni and some live in unrecognised shantytowns around the outskirts of town but the town only has one police station and two substations which caters for all.
The headman urged Ndama residents to work together with the police in order to make Ndama a safe place to live.
The headman said it will be easier as residents know who the gang members are. “We also want to appeal to shebeens to stop operating on unauthorised hours at night, as that is what is also contributing to crime in this area,” he said.
“In Ndama, crimes of concern are mainly common assault, housebreaking, in terms of statistics, we will not be able to provide them now but it’s a clear cut that Ndama is one of the troubled locations, its’ toping in terms of our recorded crime rates, that’s why we are making an effort to come closer to the community so that we can both do our part. We have other platforms were the community can work effectively or volunteer to work together with the police, platforms like women and men network and neighbourhood watch, a strategy for community policing,” said the new Station Commander for Rundu Police Charge Office, Chief Inspector Paulus Hawanga.