LUDERITZ: Karas Regional Governor Bernardus Swartbooi says tourists often complain about services, the appearance and mentality of officials working at the Namibian and South African border posts.
He said this at the Regional Joint Technical Committee on Defence and Security meeting between South Africa’s Northern Cape Province Police and the police in the Karas Region, which was held at the Nest Hotel in Lüderitz Thursday.
Swartbooi was in particular referring to the Mata Mata, Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer border posts, and said interventions which would lead to the delivery of good service and the improvement of infrastructure should be considered.
He stated that border posts are the “face” of the country which tourists get to see first, thus it is crucial that such places look appealing and the services are good. This, he said, would help with the improvement of the tourism sectors.
Another one of cross-border challenges he highlighted and recommended that the committee consider and change was the low fence on the South African side of the border.
The governor said the low fence makes it easy for criminals to steal livestock and smuggle drugs into Namibia from South Africa and vice-versa, hence the need for a higher fence be erected.
An additional problem is veld fires which can be difficult to control as firefighters have to wait until the fire crosses the border into their country before attempting to put it out.
“People cannot jump the fence to go fight the fire in another country, so usually they watch as the fire destroys the vegetation on the other side and puts it out when it reaches their side. Regulations are needed to facilitate this,” Swartbooi noted.
Touching on the issue of the young people employed in the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and Namibian Defence Force (NDF), the governor stated that serious coaching is needed to stop those that involve themselves in crimes.
He stated that it seems as if most of these young people join the forces “just because they want to be employed, but are not committed to providing peace and security” to the country.
“They need to be trained and taught that they should be responsible and provide proper security, not to make illegal money or be involved in criminal activities through abuse of power,” he said.
The two-day meeting will end Friday and is being attended by police delegates from the Northern Cape and Karas Region, as well as officials from the two countries’ ministries of defence, immigration, environment and tourism, and fisheries.
The meeting is an annual event where the delegates come together to discuss and recommend strategies to improve security between Namibia and South Africa.