By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB THE death toll from road fatalities in the Tsumeb district fell by more than 90 percent during the festive season. Car accidents reported in the district only accounted for the loss of two lives and six injuries since December 19 to date. Police Chief Inspector Abner Agas said that what is traditionally dubbed the “slaughter field” of the main road stretching from Tsumeb to Oshivelo in the Oshikoto Region was peaceful during the festive period. Previously, scores of innocent lives were lost due to negligent driving by motorists. Inspector Agas said the sharp decrease could be attributed to remarkable public/police relations. According to him, the launch of the National Road Safety campaign by Government in conjunction with the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and other stakeholders before the festive season enabled law enforcement officers to use donated equipment to introduce strict discipline amongst road users. He stressed that strict police and traffic control at various roadblocks including the Oshivelo checkpoint and at Tsumeb had realised a dramatic influence on the behavioral norms of holiday-goers this time around. Inspector Agas pointed out that drivers of vehicles were obedient of the law, did not drive beyond the speed limit while most of them avoided drinking whilst driving. The police chief inspector commended road users for their cooperation. “Look, only two souls were sacrificed in accidents, many families had been traumatized through the death of their beloved on this stretch (of road) in previous years. I must admit that our road users have come of age, we must extend credit to them, and encourage them to become more cautious on our national roads.” The police district covers a portion of Omuthiya, Oshivelo, Tsumeb, Kombat, Grootfontein, Maroelaboom, Tsumkwe, and Gam and borders the Dobe area next to Botswana. Inspector Agas however noted that isolated incidents of housebreaking and common assault were reported but equally compared well with statistics of the previous years. He however took issue with nightclub and shebeen owners who failed to comply with national laws prohibiting trading in liquor and other intoxicating substances beyond specified hours in line with the restriction on business licenses. “We were forced to arrest some club and shebeen owners who deliberately ignored the law. Those laws were made to exercise control and protect our people from becoming victims of criminal activities that are common when people abuse alcohol and drugs.” He noted that local authority councillors are not to blame for forcing the closure of nightclubs and shebeens, stressing that the decision was taken by Cabinet. He stressed that residents should equally respect by-laws introduced by local authorities to control anti-social behavior in public. Some nightclub owners that reportedly contravened the law by operating beyond the specified hours of trading told New Era that they were not informed about the new rule, claiming that they needed a proper briefing before the legal provisions could be effected.
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