Tax payers foot pricey civilian brutality payouts

03 November 2021 | Justice

Windhoek • [email protected]

Taxpayers are forking out at least N$900 000 to date this year to pay civilians assaulted by police and soldiers during joint police operations since 2019.
On Monday, government agreed to pay N$100 000 to Johannes Nduwe, in addition to his legal bill for an unspecified amount, for an assault he endured during Operation Kalahari Desert in Goreangab in January 2020.
Human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe assisted Nduwe with the case.
In a separate case, in September government agreed to pay N$250 000 to Jesaja Nelumbu Hango, another Tjombe client, who was attacked by police and soldiers in Swakopmund during 2020’s first lockdown.
In addition, the courts ordered government to pay Hango’s N$100 000 legal fees.

Tax money
In late October, government agreed to pay N$50 000 to cannabis legalisation advocate Brian Jaftha, who was assaulted during a raid at his premises in April 2019.
His co-complainant, Haindere Pasakalius, agreed to be paid N$15 000 to settle his lawsuit.
In September government agreed to pay N$90 000 to Fares Tjaverua, following an assault during Hornkranz in April 2019. Tjaverua was assaulted after he was spotted filming Hornkranz members assaulting other residents nearby.
In May, government agreed to pay N$250 000 to Luise Taakambadhala Mwanyangapo, following an assault by soldiers on 27 April 2019.
In March, the police and defence force agreed to a N$30 000 payment to Alexander Ngoma Afonso for a May 2019 assault. Afonso is one of several pro-bono clients suing government for unlawful assaults and arrests at the hands of government armed forces who are being assisted by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC).
In August, High Court judge Dinnah Usiku ordered government to pay N$30 000 to Kyle Sullivan, another Tjombe client, for an assault and unlawful arrest that took place in April 2019.

GBV
Government’s legal battles continue with at least another 20 civil lawsuits underway in which civilians are claiming combined damages of around N$20 million, many of them brought by women and minors.
Among them is a lawsuit launched by Jane Jelinda Owoses, who is suing government for N$150 000, saying police and soldiers barged into her house in pursuit of her daughter who had filmed them assaulting other residents during Operation Hornkranz.
Lenie Margrate Thys is suing for N$100 000, claiming a soldier beat her with an AK-47 until she fainted, in June 2019.
The LAC are also assisting several complainants suing the police for around N$600 000 each, related to a group arrest of minors several years ago in Eenhana, who claim they were forced to “crow like a rooster”, sprayed with fire extinguishers, and otherwise tortured and threatened.
Oshakati resident Rachel Shipa is suing government for N$2 million, claiming she was shot in July 2020 during an unlawful raid at her residence. The bullet remains lodged in her breast.
Asteria Mbidama is suing the police for N$400 000, claiming she was assaulted with batons.
Two minors allegedly assaulted during Operation Kalahari Desert, have sued for more than N$400 000 in combined damages.

Brutality
Inge Shimoneni, the mother of Benisius Kalola, who was killed by a soldier for filming the scene of Operation Kalahari Desert, is suing government for N$1.6 million. Mediation talks continue in the case.
Collin Uamanajo Kasupi, a resident in Puros, sued the police this year for N$2 million in damages, claiming he was attacked in May 2020 by police who threatened to kill him and “a plastic bag was forcefully and repeatedly placed over his head so as to suffocate him.”
Africa Lipuleni Fikuloye, a resident of Oshakati, is suing the police for N$900 000 claiming he was beaten unconscious.
Taleni Petrus Manja’s trial is ongoing, after he sued the police and NDF for N$1 million in damages. Manja was one of the first civilians whose alleged assault took place shortly after Operation Hornkranz was launched in December 2018.
Judgment will be delivered in late November in the case brought by Ebson Katire, who sued the police for N$900 000, alleging that he was assaulted in the back of a police van while handcuffed, for more than an hour, in September 2019.
A communal farmer, Vaongauza Tjambiru, filed a N$2 million civil lawsuit against police this year, claiming an assault near Puros in May 2020.
Another N$2 million claim against the police was filed earlier this year by David Shambo, a Windhoek meat vendor who claims he was severely assaulted by police in June 2020.

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