Nampol unapologetic over Shoprite shootings

The situation got out of hand when petitioners were transported from Ondangwa and Ongwediva by activists of the Affirmative Repositioning movement to join others, the deputy commissioner said.

18 January 2021 | Labour

TUYEIMO HAIDULA







OSHAKATI

Namibian police deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi said rubber bullets were used on Friday to “restore order” amongst a crowd of striking Shoprite, U-Save and Checkers employees at Oshakati in the Oshana Region.

The incident took place at Yetu Complex at around 18h00 when the employees allegedly moved from their usual spot to block customers from entering the shop.

In an interview with the national broadcaster on Saturday evening, Shikwambi said the situation got out of hand when petitioners were transported from Ondangwa and Ongwediva - by activists of the Affirmative Repositioning movement - to join others.

This, she said, meant the officers on duty could no longer control the situation and they, therefore, had to request for reinforcement.

“The Special Reserve Force was then dispatched to control the situation. Allegedly the striking employees started throwing stones, which prompted the officers to use rubber bullets to restore order,” she said.

Could have been avoided

Shikwambi said this event could have been avoided if the striking workers and sympathisers maintained a peaceful protest.

“14 January was their demonstration day. This happened on 15 January and there was no permission granted for that day. We are encouraging Namibian people to follow the law,” she said.

The scuffle comes a few days after Shoprite Namibia defied a labour court ruling which prohibits it from hiring seasonal staff or ‘fixed term’ employees while full-time workers are on strike over better pay.

Judge Shafimana Ueitele ruled in favour of the striking workers who embarked on a strike in last month.

Shikwambi said there is currently no court order directing the police to intervene or ensure that Shoprite abides by the interdict, hence this is beyond their control.

- [email protected]

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