The police in the Zambezi Region have intensified their operations targeting mainly drivers of motor vehicles, particularly taxi drivers from Zambia, who are being recruited illegally by Namibian policemen and other Namibians to operate their taxis for a pittance.
New Era had earlier this month reported that some police officers in the region employ Zambian nationals to operate their taxis.
Zambezi Regional Police Commissioner Karel Theron revealed last weekend the police impounded about 24 taxis which were operated by Zambian nationals, while 174 summonses were issued to those operating taxis and driving private vehicles without a valid driver’s licence.
“This is an ongoing operation which started a long time ago. What has happened is that we have intensified our operations. In the past weeks we issued 294 summonses. Last week we issued 174 summonses, and those who are not going to pay the summons will face the law,” said Theron.
New Era understands that the owners of the taxis that were impounded together with their drivers were each fined N$4,000 for contravening the Immigration Act, which requires anyone who intends to reside in Namibia for purposes of employment to have a valid work permit.
The crime investigations coordinator for Zambezi, Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku, warned Namibian nationals to refrain from employing foreigners without valid documents.
“Whoever is going to be found operating an illegal taxi, the best place for him is the jail cells. Secondly, whoever is going to employ or has already employed a person who is a foreigner, if that person is found, the vehicle will be impounded and his illegal business will come to a standstill,” he said.
He added that the region is expecting many visitors over the Easter weekend, which starts on Friday, “who are visiting the region due to the Namibian Cup that is taking place. People who are using the road by walking should take precautions for their safety, as the town will be very busy. Drivers themselves should be cautious of people crossing the road.”
Meanwhile, during last week’s operations 52 bags of maize meal from Zambia were confiscated, and the owners were charged for illegal importation of goods through ungazetted entry points.
Simasiku said when perishable items are confiscated they are normally disposed of by burning. “If the suspect runs away, we will just burn the item, but if he is caught he will be charged. Then the court has to pronounce itself, and the disposable order is always given,” he said.