Police and army asks for N$11,1 billion for 2017/18 … as lower ranking officers continue squatting in informal areas
The Safety and security ministry and defense have both asked for a budget allocation of approximately N$5 billion each for the smooth running of operations in 2017/18.
Line minister, Charles Namoloh said the forces continue to battle worrisome trends posed by incidences of murder, theft, robbery, domestic violence, drug trafficking, smuggling of contraband and dangerous articles into correctional facilities, rape, fraud and cybercrimes among others.
“The commission of such crimes does not only bring fear amidst our law abiding citizens, but also, creates an adverse state of affairs for investors who may perceive our country to be not conducive for the investment of their money,” said the minister.
The budget request comes at a time when a majority of lower ranking officers in urban areas are still squatting in the informal settlements under difficult circumstances as they have no access to decent living accommodation.
Namoloh said, “This is due to the high cost of houses and exorbitant renting fees. Their colleagues who are operating at our borders are sleeping in tents; they are, thus, exposed to all types of harsh weather and other personal safety risks.”
The minister said the provision of accommodation to uniformed forces remains critical and “a difficult task to accomplish”.
Namoloh admitted that the maintenance of fleet has increasingly become very costly and the mobility of police is being negatively affected.
His ministry has not acquired vehicles for the past three financial years with 70% of the fleet having reached its lifespan.
On top of this, Namoloh said his ministry is in need of more CCTV cameras for the maintenance of security and order in sensitive environments to prevent the smuggling of contraband into correctional facilities, open to riots, attack by offenders and escapes.
“Although the Ministry of Safety and Security has succeeded to curb some incidences of crime in the country, it did so with inadequate resources allocated to it through the national budget,” said the minister.
The safety and security ministry is also riddled with human capital challenges owing to a high staff turnover, which is due to a number of contributing factors, such as resignation, retirement, death and discharges.
Namoloh said his ministry had since halted the recruitment of new members, except a few replacements for critical positions.
In his motivation speech for an allocation of $N5.9 billion in parliament last week, defense minister Penda Ya Ndakolo said he was aware of the current economic hardships which have “placed significant pressure in allocating resources to competing national needs.”
Although the ministry’s huge allocation of funds has been a subject of scorn from observers, the minister said they were justified in the light of defending “the territory and national interests of Namibia.”
He said bows and arrows were no longer applicable in the 21st century and that the forces “should be prepared in all phases of war.”
Last year, defense received an allocation of N$6 billion.
In justifying the budget request, the minister said, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody is ready to die.”