Ombudsman blasts City for ‘commodifying’ security

Elizabeth Joseph
Ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha has slammed the City of Windhoek for a decision to charge residents for police services.
The municipality last week announced that as of 1 January 2023, "requests for police assistance during racing events, sporting events and other events will be charged at N$52.50 per hour”, while a “road accident report will cost N$63”.
“A statement obtained from complainants, witnesses and victims will be N$63 per statement," it said.
Dyakugha expressed disagreement with the decision, adding that if the public will be charged for these services, the City is missing the point.
"Police service is part of the core mandate of the government, to provide these services to the public. In fact, for any nation, the backbone of the police service is very important.
“In no instance should we have a case of the government charging for these services," he said.
According to the Ombudsman, if these services aren't free alongside healthcare and education, government isn't offering anything to Namibians.
"Health, water and education are not for free, so what is? It should not reach a point where we should pay for police services. This will then only be accessible to the wealthy who can afford it, and they will be the only ones protected from criminals.”
Not private
Dyakugha said charging for police services is prevalent in developing countries because they can afford it, but added that Namibia is still far from that point.
"In Namibia, we cannot afford to rely on private security for our services. That would not be affordable for many of our people.
“Security in general is the government's responsibility and should not become a commodity that can only be offered to the rich. City Police is not private," he said.
He added that residents already pay for these services through rates and taxes, and added that paying double would be "unfair".