GBV unit operating without a budget

By Shallot Mohutege

THE Namibian Police (Nampol) Gender Based Violence Protection Division (GBVPD) unit has been operating without a budget since its establishment in 1993.

Confidente has learnt that the GBVPD which was initially called the Women and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) and later renamed Gender Protection Unit in 2015 has never operated with an allocated budget.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security received N$5, 95 billion from the national budget this year.

According to a source in the police force, not only does the unit lack funds, around 70 percent of posts are vacant meaning lack of much needed manpower.

“That’s why it is hard for us to close cases at times, if we had our own budget and more manpower that would go a long way. There are also posts that need to be filled, not only in Windhoek but other regions as well, which makes it difficult for us to execute our work efficiently,” added the source.

This was confirmed by the Deputy Commander of the Crime Investigation Directorate (CID) Johanna Situde: “Budget constraint is one of the challenges the GBV unit faces. We also have insufficient shelter/ places of safety in the regions.”

The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Sebastian Ndeitunga stated that the situation is dire.

“The GBV division is under the CID, but not even they have their own budget, matter of fact, the entire police’s budget is not enough. The operational budget which includes the crime prevention budget is not remotely close to being enough, it is very limited and therefore limits our work too,” he said.

Ndeitunga added that the ministry requested for a bigger budget but unfortunately it was denied.

“If you ask the Executive Director of the Ministry of Safety and Security he will tell you how our budget was cut.”

Ndeitunga further stated that it is not only the GBV unit affected by budget constraints, but the whole crime prevention division.

“These serious cases such as murder, housebreaking, rape, they all need to be investigated but the resources are not sufficient. The government has a lot of challenges and we are all suffering.

“Even if we decide to make the GBV unit a directorate, it would still not make a difference. People want to be promoted but they are not doing their jobs. If they are struggling now, who’s to say they are going to do a better job once they are promoted?”

According to Ndeitunga there is a need for vacancies to be filled but that depends from region to region.

“If there are no vacancies filled in, the head of that department can present these unfilled vacancies to the promotional panel of the force. I also want to know why they are not filled” further stated Ndeitunga.

Statistics of GBV cases recorded between September 2019 and September 2020 stand at a total of 6 900 of which 3 787 have seen perpetrators arrested, 917 cases have been withdrawn, 2 473 are still under investigation and only 317 have been convicted.

Khomas region has the highest with 2 531 GBV cases and Omaheke lowest with 91 cases. A total of 2 167 protection orders were registered with the police.

According to Situde, it is important to note that men remain the main culprits in the commission of GBV crimes, although the number of women perpetrating GBV crimes is increasing too.