Home affairs executive director condemns GBV 

BY ADOLF KAURE

Home affairs executive director Etienne Maritz has condemned the increasing number of gender-based violence crimes at Swakopmund’s DRC Informal Settlement. 

These remarks were made during the groundbreaking for the DRC Police Station that took place on Tuesday as part of a public-private partnership which includes Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) Rössing Uranium, who will sponsor the project as part of their corporate social responsibility for N$20 million, the Swakopmund Municipality availing land as well as the Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL).  “I should point out that gender-based violence is brutal to effectively address because, in most cases, it is committed in homes and bedrooms. Therefore, we can only succeed in addressing the challenge if there is cooperation with the police.

“Thus, a holistic approach is required from all stakeholders, to be able to address this phenomenon,” Maritza said. Swakopmund has also seen several murder cases that have alarmed the town in the townships. Three shocking murders, which included victims being stabbed to death, have taken place on three consecutive weekends at the coastal town’s townships.

Maritz appealed to the public not to conceal crimes but to alert the Police to ensure the safety of residents could be preserved. “I would like to appeal to all the residents of DRC Settlement not to harbour criminals, even though they may be your family members or friends.

“Instead, discourage them from committing criminal activities and other social ills, so that they may be part of the law-abiding citizens of our beautiful country. Therefore, I encourage you to report criminal activities to the police. I urge all leaders and the community to join hands with the Namibian Police Force in the fight against crimes,” the Executive Director said.

The 2023 Namibia Statistics Agency Housing and Population Census states that over 80,000 people reside in Swakopmund. This figure has doubled since 2011—the DRC Informal Settlement on the outskirts of Swakopmund houses over 50,000 residents. 

One of the reasons for this increase is migration in search of a better quality of life due to industries like fisheries, mining and tourism. This has made the provision of the Police Station even more crucial to help the Police’s efforts to combat crime. 

The Inspector General of NAMPOL, Joseph Shikongo, said the groundbreaking is a testament that services are being brought closer to the people amid the growing population of Swakopmund.

“I am fully aware that the community of DRC used to get police services from the Mondesa Police Station which is quite a distance from here, hence this facility will ensure that the Police responds to the communities needs in a timely manner as well as improved crime prevention efforts in the area.”  “The management of the Namibian Police Force took serious note of the prevalent crimes in Erongo Region, particularly in the area of DRC ranging from assault, robbery, theft from person, Gender-Based Violence related cases, rape, drunk driving, drug and alcohol abuse just to mention a few. This indeed gives us sleepless nights. I would therefore like to direct the Regional Commander of Erongo and his entire management to intensify crime prevention efforts and work closely with the community to ensure that all crimes and social ills are rooted out of our society,” Shikongo said. 

Additionally, the Police Chief urged the community to cooperate with the Police for the crimes to be eliminated. 

“I would also like to call upon the community to continue working together with the Police in the fight against crime, by joining various community policing initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watches and Women and Men Networks,” he said. 

He further expressed his gratitude on NAMPOL’s behalf for sponsoring the Police Station and the Swakopmund Municipality for availing the land on which it will be constructed. “I would like to express our profound gratitude again to the management of Rössing Uranium for their generous donation and unwavering support.  “Similarly, I would also like to thank the Swakopmund Municipality as well as other stakeholders for always prioritizing the safety of our citizens.” 

“Together, we will continue to build a safer, stronger, and more prosperous Namibia for all its citizens and visitors. May this partnership continue to flourish and may this project serve as an apparatus of peace, justice, and prosperity for generations to come,” said Shikongo. The DRC Police Station will include a charge office, police holding cells, ablution facilities and other office space. The project is expected to take between eight and twelve months to complete.