According to Namibian Correctional Services (NCS), only eleven people have been convicted for violating the COVID -19 state of emergency regulations since their enactment.
Commissioner of NCS, Meunajo Tjiroze, said the eleven are individuals that were sentenced by the courts, with the Namibia Police Force having arrested 795 suspects for the period March 2020 until January 2021. “Many people are not adhering to the Covid-19 regulations, this comes in as Shikongo announced that a significant number of people are paying the N$2000 fine through admission of being guilty for breaking the Covid-19 regulations,” said Namibia Police Force Commissioner, Joseph Shikongo, adding that people are failing to understand the effects of Covid-19, which is raising major concerns for the law enforcement system.
“There is a high level of non-compliance, like violating the curfew, the trading hours, the non-adherence to the mask and social distancing.”
With the regulations of contravening curfew and prohibitions relating to liquor making up the highest number of arrests, Shikongo said, “Last weekend Friday to Saturday we arrested about 63 people for violation of the curfew, and that is just at the two police stations, Windhoek Police Station and Klein Windhoek Police Station.”“What we do not want is to arrest people, because if we start arresting everybody, we will not have cells to put them in. Our cells are already overcrowded.”
Shikongo said the Police’s role was currently to educate the people before getting to the point of arresting offenders contravening the Covid-19 regulations. “We have been educating them since day one and it looks like people are just ignorant. If people could only just understand that Covid-19 has an effect on our society, take responsibility and not wait for officers to come and tell them what to do.”
Shilongo added ,”during the first phase of lockdown the crime rate went down but as of now, we have seen an increase in some crimes, such as rape, domestic violence and murder,” pointing out that in the past weekend six murders were recorded in the Khomas Region alone.
“Statistics would’ve have been more if put together countrywide. Some of these crimes are attributed to liquor, because majority of these matters are happening in bars, after people were drinking or quarrelling after drinks,” he said.
Statistics from Nampol’s Head of Operational Division, Deputy Commissioner Ismael Basson, show that 795 arrests were made during this time and N$257 500 was paid in fines. “ 252 suspects were arrested for prohibitions relating to liquor, summing up to N$70 500 in fines paid to State, with N$4000 collected from 11 arrests made for restrictions relating to certain businesses operations and activities. Five arrests of suspects that did not pay their fines for restriction of movement from places of residence; one arrested paid a fine of N$1000 for prohibitions relating to entry into Namibia; seven suspects were also arrest for restrictions relating to transportation of goods and persons paid N$8000,” Basson said.
“Restrictions on number of persons to be conveyed in a motor vehicle, 49 arrests were made and N$10 000 was paid. 17 suspects were arrested for not wearing a mask of which the fine numbered up to N$29 000 paid to the state.”