LUDERITZ: Discussions on how to curb the smuggling of drugs from South Africa into Namibia dominated the two-day Regional Joint Technical Committee on Defence and Security meeting held at Lüderitz.
This was revealed by the Regional Commander of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Karas Region, Commissioner Armas Shivute in an interview with Nampa immediately after the meeting concluded at a hotel in the coastal town on Friday.
The meeting involved members of the police in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province and Karas Region police.
Suggestions on strategies to stop the smuggling of drugs between the two countries were made during the meeting. One of the strategies which has so far been implemented and is regarded as being effective is communication between the two forces once drug dealing is detected in one of the countries.
“Usually the South African police will tell the Namibian police that there is a suspect trying to smuggle drugs into Namibia, and that has led to a lot of successful arrests. More drugs have been confiscated since I started here this year and it is because of the good cooperation between Namibia and the South African police,” Shivute noted.
He added that the increasing success in the arrest of drug dealers has also been attributed to more police informers being recruited in the region this year, as well as the assistance of community initiatives such as Youth Against Crime and Woman’s Network.
Officials at the meeting were of the opinion that drug usage is slowly increasing in Namibia as more and more illegal substances appear to be entering the country from neighbouring countries, hence the increased security at border posts.
During the meeting, the committee members came to a decision to hold meetings on a quarterly basis, as opposed to the current annual meeting.
This will help facilitate the constant flow of ideas to strengthen security and curb cross-border crimes.
The committee also resolved that defence and police commanders at the border posts of both Namibia and South Africa will meet every month to, amongst other thing, discuss the fight against crime.
Evidence of the results of the cross-border cooperation was made visible this week when members of NamPol’s Drug Enforcement Unit arrested a truck driver after he was found in possession of dagga worth N.dollars 1,9 million.
The truck driver had been coming from Durban, South Africa and police there notified NamPol. He was arrested in the Brakwater area in the early morning hours of Thursday.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the meeting, Lüderitz Deputy Mayor Calvin Mwiya said the council here is receiving complaints from community members about the widespread use of drugs amongst the youth.
“The mushrooming of illegal drugs at schools here is a great concern, because schools are supposed to be a safe learning environment for our children. But now it seems schools have become a hub for the distribution of drugs to learners by drug smugglers,” Mwiya said.
The next regional defence and security meeting will take place in South Africa in 2013, on a date yet to be announced. The venue is also still to be decided on.