Enough is enough!

07 December 2018 | Columns

A five-day police operation conducted in all SADC countries has exposed rampant child neglect in Namibia, and it's shocking, too say the least.

The crime-fighting operation, led by female police officers, resulted in the extraction of 56 children younger than 18 and nine mothers carrying babies from shebeens, bars and liquor stores over a period of just five days.

All liquor outlet, bar and shebeen owners were given written warnings for allowing minors onto their premises and 182 illegal liquor outlets were closed out of the 714 inspected.

Major-General Anna-Marie Nainda said child abuse incidents in Namibia are rising and need to be dealt with using the full might of the law.

She said the neglect of children has become a burning and critical problem, and that if any children are found abandoned, roaming the streets without adequate supervision or are taken into places they are not supposed to be, “we are going to open criminal cases and we are going to arrest those people”.

The police escorted mothers with young children from bars, shebeens and gambling houses during the operation.

During an inspection at a Klein Windhoek gambling house in the early morning hours, the police discovered drunken teenage girls, who were promptly removed.

This is indeed a shocking state of affairs as we enter the festive season.

There has in any event been a surge in the most heinous crimes being perpetrated against the most vulnerable, and child neglect opens barn-sized windows of opportunity for criminals to strike.

We call on the police to continue their quest to make examples of parents and guardians who neglect children or expose them to unsavoury places and situations.

It is a source of great discomfort that children are being left at the mercy of bar patrons, or worse.

Severe punitive measures need to be enforced without fear or favour, going forward.

We cannot put the nation's children at risk in this way or play Russian roulette with their futures. Enough is enough!

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