The chairperson of the National Council’s Standing Committee on Audit, Lebbius Tobias, has called on the immigration ministry to urgently erect a gate at the Mohembo border post in the Kavango East region.
The councillor made this call recently during the standing committee’s visit to the Sarusungu and Mohembo border post. The committee’s visit was aimed at assessing the impact made by the oversight activities of the National Council’s Standing Committee on Security, Constitutional and Legal Affairs.
“I would like to call on the line ministry and the minister, specifically, to act on the matter of the gate between Botswana and Namibia at the Mohembo border post as a matter of urgency,” Tobias stressed.
He added the erection of the gate would not cost government an arm and leg, saying it was not right for a country, like Namibia, not to have a border post entry gate.
Immigration and police officers at the border post, who spoke to the parliamentarians, also raised concerns about the border not having a gate that will assist them in monitoring and regulating the entry of travellers from Botswana.
Benedictus Shampapi, a senior immigration officer, indicated they only have two boom gates at the guardroom. However, the border post does not have the main gate.
“We do not have the main gate that closes the country as in the case of Botswana,” Shampapi said. According to the officials, illegal immigrants can use the ‘no man’s land’ area to enter Namibia.
This could pose a security risk challenge to the country, as anyone can enter the country when the Botswana gate is opened. Another challenge raised is the lack of manpower at the guardroom, as the border post is not fully staffed.
Furthermore, the committee members of the National Council were not impressed with the state of the Sarusungu border post’s bridge. They said the bridge needs urgent maintenance because when the border post opens, travellers will not be able to move from Namibia to Angola.
“The current state of the bridge: it looks old. It seriously needs to be revamped because the colleagues will not be able to travel to Angola,” Tobias said.
Angolan nationals use the Sarusungu border post to travel to Namibia to access healthcare, as per a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries.
Border posts countrywide are expected to reopen gradually today after government recently announced the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Tobias promised to table a report of all the challenges faced by the border post officials in the National Council, simultaneously engaging the line ministers of home affairs and finance to lobby the leaders in addressing these matters.