Vendors complain about 'police brutality'

PDM leader McHenry Venaani has called on the City Police to consider socio-economic realities.

30 October 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Street vendors operating in the Windhoek city centre have pleaded with Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani to help them find “justice and protection against police brutality”.

They accused City Police officers of fining them, manhandling them and confiscating their goods.

Ester Shilongo, a produce seller, claims that an officer threatened to shoot her and forced her to remove her produce. She claims when she tried to open a case, she was told “we are just making trouble”.

“They took goods worth N$2 600 and I was afraid to go and ask for it back. Just after the Covid-19 lockdown they also took goods worth N$2 900.”

A vendor who sells airtime, claims vouchers worth N$1 200 were confiscated and he received only N$110 back.



'Unacceptable'

Venaani said although his party does not condone lawlessness, it is important to take the socio-economic conditions of vendors into consideration.

He said it is unacceptable that the police confiscate goods and fail to return them.

“The little money you make is taken from you. And on top of that you are given a N$500 fine and taken to prison.

“How can you punish people like this?”

City Police chief Abraham Kanime denied these claims.

He said the police do not victimise vendors and instead facilitate their presence on the streets. He warned that health regulations are enforced to combat the spread of Covid-19, and must be adhered to by everyone.

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