Inspector-General of the Namibian police Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga says due to the 2016/17 budget cuts the police force will not acquire new cars for the next three years, which he believes will have negative effects on police operations.
The 2016/17 budget for the safety and security ministry was cut to N$5,1 billion, from the notable allocation of N$14,3 billion invested towards peace, public safety and security during 2015/16 financial year.
Ndeitunga has also dismissed claims that a fleet of brand new police vehicles, worth millions of dollars and parked at the Israel Patrick Iyambo Police College have remained unused for months.
In an interview with New Era on Wednesday, Ndeitunga said the fleet in question would be dispatched to the regions, taking into consideration that the police force will not buy vehicles over the next three years.
“If we don’t buy vehicles, there will be problems. Some police services will be paralysed for three consecutive years,” he maintained.
During 2015 government spent over N$500 million to buy new police vehicles, with the military and the ministry of security being the biggest spenders. N$1 billion was spent on vehicles in 2014.
“This year our budget was cut. For the three consecutive years we are told we’re not going to buy any single car. All those cars that we bought are going to be distributed to the regions.
“We had put a stop to the distribution of these cars due to the fact that police stations that are being constructed will need vehicles once they are inaugurated. It is a strategic move,” Ndeitunga noted.
According to him, the parked vehicles are waiting for police stations under construction to be inaugurated, then only will they be distributed.
“Some are there waiting for those reaching their lifespan. Our vehicles are moving 24 hours a day. They can be involved in accidents, so they need to be replaced,” he said.
He assured the public that the vehicles are not just parked idle, as widely speculated, saying the police have a proper system in place that they follow when it comes to distribution.
Ndeitunga also noted that he had not received any reports of damage to the parked vehicles.
The 2016/17 national budget indicates that the main expenditure drivers in the police are personnel costs, transport (fuel, maintenance and acquiring of new vehicles) and utilities (water and electricity, as well as telephone bills), while capital expenditure is driven mainly by constructing police accommodation countrywide, as well as national and regional police headquarters.
The retention, or attraction of competent investigators or detectives, forensic scientists, as well as aging infrastructure, are some of the major challenges the Namibian police force faces.