Police officers are once again unhappy over their wages, with “strike action” mooted for December 10.
An unsigned letter circulating on social networks, reads: “We, the lower ranks of the Namibia Police are sick and tired of serving the nation with our voices going unheard,” (sic). “We are tired of hearing the saying that ‘good things are coming’, but good never prevails.”
The letter further contrasts the recent 2000 percent increase on utility allowances for political office bearers approved by the president, with the six percent pay increase approved for civil servants.
“The net salary of a constable is N$7000. This is the tax amount of a Chief Inspector, whose take-home salary is N$28 000. That’s why higher ranking officials call their juniors cockroaches,” the letter further states.
“Till government hears our cry, or till a 2000 percent increment is approved by His Excellency, the President (Hage Geingob), we are going on strike on 10 December 2015,” the unsigned letter states.
Police officers New Era spoke to on Monday downplayed the strike, but did not want to give their names, for fear of reprisals.
They all agreed though that police officers are poorly paid: “Members of the defence force are better-paid than us,” they said.
Police officers, who did not want to be named, said the gap between the salary of a chief inspector and an inspector needs to be reduced. The wage difference is reportedly between N$10 000 and N$9000. The salary of a chief inspector is around N$28 000. Warrant Class 1 is N$15 000, Warrant Class 2 N$13 000, Sergeant Class 1 is N$8 500 and Constable Class 2 N$7 500.
Inspector Slogan Matheus of the police public relations division said “The Police Act does not authorise police officers to go on strike, or to take any action that relates to staying away from official work, but it provides alternative measures that members of the police can follow to raise their concerns, if any.”
“I am not aware of any formal notification of an impending strike or whatsoever by members of the police,” Matheus added.
In February New Era quoted police chief Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga as saying police graduates are abandoning the force to join security institutions soon after graduating because they lack loyalty. He urged them to stay in the employ of the police, despite the perceived poor salaries in the force.
In April Minister of Safety and Security Major-General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh was quoted in the press as saying: “Some police officers do not have passion for their work, but have a passion for money only. That is why we have so many problems. A police officer works for three years and then wants a promotion.” In turn some officers asked whether Namoloh wants them to work for free.
They also asked if he has read the Police Blue Manual, which states that if a member of the force has been in a position for three years and does not have a pending case, he or she qualifies for a promotion. Namoloh was unapologetic, noting that some police officers and civil servants lack passion for their jobs.
He said when people come for job interviews, “They tell you nice things, but when they get the jobs they do not want to serve. They close their doors and act like kings.”