A three-day joint law enforcement operation was conducted at the main Swakopmund roadblock last week, where over 100 law enforcement officers, and related personnel, from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia joined forces at the coast.
It was the first time that the member states to the Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee jointly hosted such an operation in Namibia.
Motorists leaving, and arriving at, Swakopmund were greeted by a flurry of bright aluminous green reflector jackets, where traffic and police officers from the three countries manned a roadblock just outside Swakopmund on the B2 road that connects the coastal towns to the B1 road.
With them were customs officials, immigration officers, roads authority personnel and cross-border officials from Botswana and South Africa.
By the end of the operation a total of 1,301 vehicles were inspected, of which 1,096 were Namibian drivers, 76 from South Africa and two from Botswana. In addition, all the drivers were screened for alcohol consumption, of whom 260 tested negative and eight positive, while 81 warrants of arrest were issued against drivers.
Statistics collected during the operation recorded various driver offences, which included 13 vehicles with worn out tyres, 13 with cracked windscreens, nine unlicensed, 19 offenders driving without a licence and 16 road transport violations.
The fourth Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC) operation was held under the theme “Unlocking trade relations between Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and beyond.” The three previous operations took place in other member state countries.
The operation was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Sankwasa James Sankwasa, who commended the three member states for coming together to address lawlessness in the corridor.
He said an exercise of such magnitude is of great importance as Namibia is positioning herself to become the logistics hub for the region. He also pointed out the value a smooth running transport process plays in advancing economic development.
Key elements that were noted during the operation included that legislation on the transportation of dangerous goods must be implemented. Also the need to develop standard operating procedures for joint law enforcement operations; intensify public educational campaigns and awareness of cross-border movement of people and goods; integrate driver and motor vehicle databases from member states; develop a database of all transport operators using the corridor; and border management authorities’ need to meet regularly to troubleshoot any issues pertaining to trade facilitation. Leading up to the law enforcement operation, a two-day training workshop was conducted on the transportation of dangerous goods, which was attended by operatives from all the participating countries.
The official opening was attended by the High Commissioner of Botswana, Tshenolo Modise, and the High Commissioner of South Africa, Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini, together with other high-ranking officials from the three respective member states.
Present for this auspicious occasion were other high ranking officials including the director of the Botswana Traffic Police, representatives from TKCMC and MVA Fund Namibia and mayors from Swakopmund, Usakos and Windhoek to mention but some. Governor of the Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua, thanked the TKCMC and the Namibian government for choosing the Erongo to host the first joint law enforcement operation in Namibia.
He reiterated his support for the operation, saying it will promote compliance and consistency in the application of sovereign laws in the corridor.