The Namibian Police Traffic Law Enforcement (NTLE) does not have the scanners needed to track down forged driver’s licences leaving the traffic monitoring system exposed to manipulation, The Villager can reveal.
Speaking to The Villager this week, Chief Inspector Amalia Gawanas said that Nampol officers currently have to rely on their naked eyes to detect unauthentic licences while also relying on their knowledge of the features on the coat of arms on the drivers’ licence cards.
This revelations comes hot on the heels after the police in the Erongo Region confirmed a rife trend of flourishing of unauthentic drivers’ licences in the region, most often detected on taxi drivers.
“Hopefully by next year we will acquire scanners that are used to scan drivers’ licences to detect authentication. We are now in the process of setting up speed measuring cameras that capture data in all the 14 regions of the country,” Gawanas said.
No records of the number of culprits arrested for for using unauthentic licences could be found when The Villager inquired for figures dating back to 2014 the Traffic department at Nampol.
No counterfeit licences have been detected and no report or statistics are available on counterfeited licences with the NTLE, although this is only limited to the City of Windhoek.
Meanwhile, statistics on people who operated vehicles without valid drivers’ licences were readily available with NTLE agents having issued a total of 26 312 summons worth N$ 27 482 802 for offenders who have a choice to pay up or appear in court.
According Gawanas traffic officers do not arrest persons driving without drivers’ licences but are issuing a notice to appear in court to the amount of N$1 000 if the driver is not in possession of a driver’s licences at all.
‘’For the Period 01 January 2014 to 31 March 2015 drivers without driving licences total summonses issued, notice to appear in Court are as follows, total summons issued for driving without a driving licences were ,13 042 to the total value of N$14 909 650.00,” Gawanas said.
She added, for the period of 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016 drivers without driving licences a total of summons issued were 13 270 to the total value of N$12 573 152.
For drivers that claim that they have drivers’ licences an alternative charge is N$500, which is payable on the day indicated on the summons and the person can appear in court with prove of his or her original driving licence in order to pay a fine of N$500, The Villager has learnt.
“Currently we don’t have any scanners to prove the authenticity of a driving licence. We are only based on the knowledge of the different codes of arms reflecting on the driving licence card. The equipment that can detect the authentication will be introduced soon to law enforcement officials,” Gawanas said.
Khomas region recorded the highest number of summons issued followed by the Oshana and Omusati regions while Kunene region recorded the lowest summons for persons driving without a driver’s licences in the last three years.
The senior traffic officer of the Swakopmund municipality, Appollus Motinga said that their department is aware of members of the public that produce drivers’ licences that are not legitimate and reiterated the need for scanners.
“Because we don’t possess a device to detect or screening devices, the only means to rely on to verify the legality of a driver’s license is the Natis data system, but one has to call and confirm and it’s a very time delaying process. The scanners have to be avail because it is long overdue,” Motinga said.
When approached for comment on the situation concerning the lack of drivers’ licence scanners the Minister of Safety and Security (MSS), Charles Namoloh, said he is not aware of anything concerning the scanners.
“I don’t know anything about drivers’ licences scanners. I am not aware of it and did not hear of it. The inspector or whosoever told you must know about it. I don’t know anything,” Namoloh said.
The Villager reported earlier that the MSS, in its quest to tighten the noose on reckless road users who have cost the state N$1.5m in traffic damages annually, has issued summonses for 26 309 Namibian drivers for this year.
The Namibian Police have made 1 941 arrest between mid-last year and early this year for people who had failed to make appearances to traffic offence cases.
Namoloh said this at the National Assembly when he presented a statement on the impact of Operation Omake on the general prevalence of crime in the country.
Earlier last year The Villager reported that the City Police chased after 21 000 warrants of arrest issued to taxi drivers in Windhoek, including traffic offenders who have failed to appear in court.
The total number of outstanding traffic tickets were 61 000 earlier last year, which accumulates when drivers fail to appear in court or pay their tickets on the day stipulated. The Villager also reported that there was a population of 80 000 private vehicles registered within the City of Windhoek, and 40 000 outstanding fines for private vehicles, while City of Windhoek (CoW) spends approximately N$1.5m in traffic damages annually. This money is spent to repair damages to traffic lights, street posts and lamp posts damaged by drivers here.
The total population of taxis in the city, was standing at 6 000, raising a concern that the huge number of 21 000 out of 61 000 outstanding tickets are for taxi drivers.