Albertina Nakale Windhoek-Lack of adequate office space and accommodation, as well as essential equipment and suitable vehicles are just some of the challenges facing Namibia’s law enforcement personnel. This came to light after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security undertook regional visits to capital projects and facilities of the Namibian police, Namibian Correctional Services, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in the Zambezi, //Kharas and Hardap regions between August and September. The parliamentary standing committee’s chairperson, Leevi Katoma, last week in the National Assembly presented some of the worrisome findings, especially in the Zambezi Region. Katoma told Members of Parliament that at Singalamwe (Kamenga) border post police were found sleeping in tents. “They are exposed to the dangers of wild animals, such as leopards, cheetahs, and snakes on a daily basis. They face network challenges, making it virtually impossible to use their cellular phones and prepare their meals on firewood, meaning they do not have the luxury of electric stoves,” Katoma noted. He said the findings were based on face-to-face briefings conducted with senior officers in the three regions, as well as physical inspections of sites and facilities. At the Hardap Correctional Facility, Katoma said, due to lack of accommodation, wardens live in makeshift rooms in an old corrugated zinc barn or storeroom partitioned with curtains, blankets or any other cloth. Further, he reported the place where the correctional service wardens live is named Ramatex, adding that they were informed that some wardens even had to use the beds of other members who are on duty at the time. “We request the Ministry of Safety and Security to do an investigation. We should be mindful of the reality that our Namibian Defence Force inherited temporary structures at military bases from the apartheid South African regime, of which many are now dilapidated,” he said. In addition, Katoma said the committee found that police officers and soldiers, as well as immigration officials at Impalila Island in the Bwabwata National Park were also facing stark challenges. The committee also detected issues in terms of demarcation and beaconing of borderlines on the border posts in all three regions and said it need urgent attention. “Despite all the challenges and setbacks, members of the Namibian Police Force, Namibia Defence Force, Namibian Correctional Services and immigration officers in the three regions have portrayed high morale, which reflect high discipline and loyalty,” he noted. Katoma said their findings indicate that progress on the implementation of capital projects in three regions was satisfactory, despite constraints and challenges at some sites and facilities that were clearly identified. Some of the challenges pertain to the building materials, questionable quality of workmanship and general maintenance, the abandonment of sites, removal of main contractors from sites, and non- or late payment of contractors. “We have witnessed first-hand the impact of budget cuts on capital projects. A sizable number of capital projects of the Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration have been put on hold, or suspended due to budget cuts. “We are mindful of the situation and trust that these projects will be resumed when funds permit,” Katoma said.
2017-10-17 09:55:18 11 months ago