Drug trafficking, boozing in NDF

13 October 2017 | Government

The Namibian Defence Force is struggling with social challenges such as alcohol abuse, drug trafficking and the mushrooming of shebeens.

The police, on the other hand, are facing problems with office space, lack of staff accommodation, understaffing and shortages of essential equipment and suitable vehicles.

These are some of the findings contained in reports on inspections of capital projects and facilities of the police, correctional services and the ministries of defence and home affairs in the Zambezi,

//Karas and Hardap Regions.

The reports were tabled in parliament this week.

According to Leevi Katoma, the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and security, the committee undertook inspection visits to the three regions during August and September this year to assess the progress on the implementation of capital projects identified in the development budget under the MTEF 2014/15 to 2017/18.

At the Hardap Correctional Facility, due to a lack of accommodation, wardens had to stay in makeshift rooms in an old corrugated iron barn or storeroom partitioned with curtains and blankets.

According to Katoma the place where the correctional service wardens stayed is called Ramatex.

“We were informed that some wardens even had to use the beds of those that were on shift at the time.”

The committee has requested the Ministry of Safety and Security to do an investigation, said Katoma.

The report on the Zambezi Region addressed the daily challenges faced by members of the police, the army and immigration officers at Impalila Island in the Bwabwata National Park.

Challenges of demarcation and beaconing of border lines at border posts in all three regions were also reflected in the report, said Katoma.

At the Singalamwe (Kamenga) police border post in Zambezi Region, police officers were sleeping in tents.

“They are exposed to the dangers of wild animals such as leopards and 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 wood fires, meaning that they do not have the luxury of electric stoves.”

According to Katoma, the reports identified social problems in the Namibian Defence Force such as alcohol abuse, drug trafficking and the mushrooming of shebeens and emphasised the need for these issues to be tackled by the responsible ministries and religious and civil organisations.

According to him the non-completion of the regional offices of the ministry of home affairs and immigration at Keetmanshoop and Katima Mulilo is a cause of concern.

The committee is also concerned about the situation at the Noordoewer border post and requests intervention from the home affairs, safety and security, finance and works and transport ministries.

According to Katoma the reports are comprehensive and provide an account of the progress on each capital project inspected in the three regions.

Findings in the reports are based on face-to-face briefings conducted with senior officers in the regions as well as physical inspections of sites and facilities.

According to Katoma some of the findings indicate that progress on the implementation of capital projects in the three regions was satisfactory despite constraints and challenges at some sites and facilities that are clearly identified in the report.

These include building material, questionable quality of workmanship and general maintenance, abandoning of the sites, removal of main contractors from sites, 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.”


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