We do not condone lawlessness – Ndeitunga
Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga says the police are only enforcing the law and not choosing sides against the striking Shoprite workers.
19 January 2021 | Police
Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga says the police do not support the exploitation of workers by any institution, but lawlessness will not be condoned.
Ndeitunga made the remark when questioned about the perception that the police are opposed to the striking Shoprite workers because they are guarding the supermarkets. “We are a society based on the rule of the law. We are not talking about white or black institutions here. We are talking about how to implement the law. I don't support violence, chaos or any anarchy,” Ndeitunga explained.
“It does not mean that we don't understand the predicament of workers. Our families, our mothers are victims of exploitation, if there is any. But we must enforce the law and we live up to our mandate to protect Namibians and visitors to our country.”
Thousands of Shoprite workers are currently participating in a legal strike that started on 23 December 2020. Some people have threatened to prevent the shops from operating in solidarity with the strikers.
Consequently, there have been clashes between members of the public and the police outside shops belonging to the supermarket chain.
Ndeitunga advised those who are aggrieved by Shoprite's handling of the strike to approach the courts.
“You are living in Namibia and you are aware of the threats facing those shops and you know we are there to prevent any attack or damage to property or lives,” Ndeitunga said.
“We are obliged by the law to protect any property, be it public or private property, that faces imminent danger. “That is why I have directed all regional commanders and police officers to make sure that no damage is caused to those properties. Anyone who has a problem with those institutions should be advised to approach the court,” the police chief said.
Go back to court
On the allegation that Shoprite is not complying with some of the High Court orders granted in favour of the Nafawu trade union on 8 January, Ndeitunga said the union should go back to court and file a case of contempt of court.
“The applicant should go back to court and tell it that the institution is in defiance of the court order, therefore they should probably be charged with contempt of court and then if there is a case registered of contempt of court then the police will be obliged to charge and possibly address those who are defying,” he said.