02 September 2020 | Wirtschaft
Battered budget hits safety
While one out of every four women in Namibia is a victim of gender-based violence, more police stations and money for safe houses are not a priority in government’s development budgets.
In 2017/18, government decided to erect a police station in the Epako area to serve the “disadvantaged” community, according to development budgets.
The project, at a total cost of N$138 million, saw a mere spending of N$2.5 million by 2018. In the 2019/20 budget, N$5 million was set aside for the police station at Epako in the current fiscal year.
But in the 2020/21 development budget the Epako project, like four other planned police stations, have been hacked. They are Brakwater in Windhoek, Aminius in Omaheke, Greenwell Matongo in Katima Mulilo and a police command and control centre in Windhoek East.
Unlike the other chopped projects, which have been on government’s books since 2014 and 2015, Epako only appeared on the budget radar three years ago before being slashed.
Violence is no stranger in the settlement. In April 2014 a father killed his two boys, aged four and seven, at Epako. One was stabbed four times in the head and once in the neck, while the 4-year old was stabbed once in the neck, once in the head and once in the back.
The father then sent the mother a text message saying: “I have finally killed your children, come and get your children.”
In 2015, a man stabbed his wife of nine years several times and thereafter hacked her to death with an axe at Epako, nearly severing her head from her body.
According to the 2019/20 development budget, N$33 million was supposed to have been allocated to the five scrapped police station projects this year.
Yet, the taxpayer will have to spend nearly N$47.8 million for upgrades, extensions and rehabilitation at prisons countrywide in 2020/21, the latest development budget shows.
Six police station projects remain in the current development budget. (See table on p.2.) Work on all these stations were supposed to have started in 2014 and 2015.
The total costs of these projects, most of them scheduled for completion by 31 March 2021, are about N$637.3 million. However, by 2018/19, only about N$15.7 million or about 2.5% of the budget was actually spent.
The 2020/21 development budget shows that, out of the six prisons that need to be finished by March 2021 and March 2022, construction on five will only start in the current fiscal year.
A proper police station for Brakwater at the total cost of N$44 million has been in the development budget since April 2015 and should have been completed by next March.
“One more disadvantaged area will gain the benefit of the needed police services within their area,” government motivated the project.
However, nothing was spent on this plan by 2019/20.
According to the development budget of 2019/20, N$2 million was earmarked for 2020/21. The tender was supposed to be awarded and construction of the police station should have started.
The project, however, has disappeared from the current development budget.
The “disadvantaged” area of Aminius has been looking forward to a police station since 2014, when government included a facility of nearly N$83.7 million in total in its development budget.
The police station should have been completed by March 2021.
Only N$1 million was spent on the project by 2017/18, after which it came to a standstill. In the 2019/20 development budget, N$15 million was envisaged for 2020/21, which included the awarding of the tender and the beginning of construction.
The Aminius police station is omitted in the current development budget.
A police command and control centre at a total cost of N$210 million planned for the Windhoek East in 2015 hasn’t seen a cent since then.
“The objective of the project is to construct a proper modern command control centre with essential facilities” to a “disadvantaged area”, government motivated its decision at the time. The completion date for the project was 2021.
N$6 million was earmarked for the centre for 2020/21 in last year’s development budget, but the project isn’t mentioned in the current budget.
“To provide proper [a] police station with essential facilities to the community of Greenwell Matongo area” in the Katima Mulilo constituency, government started budgeting for a facility of N$130 million in total in 2015. By 2017/18 only N$2.5 million was spent on the project.
The project purse has since been empty. In 2019/20, however, government resumed its plans for the police station and made provision for N$5 million this year.
There is no trace of the project in the current development budget.
Government seemingly has also abandoned plans to provide generators to all police stations in the //Kharas region.
The N$35-million project kicked off in 2014 and by 2017/18 a total of N$8 million was spent on installing generators to supply electricity and to serve as back-up in case of power failures.
No more money has been flowing since. The current fiscal year was supposed to provide N$5 million, but project blacked-out in the 2020/21 development budget.
In April 2018, government embarked on a N$40-million project to construct and renovate homes of safety, as well as shelters.
“The project aims to construct and maintain homes of safety and shelter for orphans and vulnerable children, as well as for men and women from abusive homes that are in need of care and protection,” the motivation stated.
Targeted constituencies are Keetmanshoop Urban, Katima Mulilo Urban, Swakopmund, Ndiyona, Khorixas and Eenhana.
In 2018/19 actual spent on this was N$1.002 million. Estimated spent in 2019/20 was only N$1 million and this year N$1.064 million was budgeted for this purpose.
The latest data of the United Nations indicates that 26.7% of women in Namibia suffers lifetime physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence. About 20% said they were victims of physical and /or sexual intimate partner violence in the last 12 months.
Nampa, the state-owned news agency, has reported 40 cases of alleged rape since the beginning of the year. Of this, 40% were children of 16 or younger.