Gobabis residents fume over magistrate's remarks

09 Jun 2013 08:40
GOBABIS, 09 JUN (NAMPA) - A Gobabis magistrate, Lourens Pretorius became the subject of condemnation from a crowd of Gobabis residents on Friday after he allegedly referred to some residents here as ?objects who should be sprayed with teargas and removed?.
The alleged comment, according to the residents, was made in reference to a crowd that had gathered last Wednesday to witness the initial appearance of a man charged with racial discrimination.
During a march on Friday by a crowd of about 300 residents in a show of solidarity with young entrepreneur Levi Katire, who was allegedly assaulted at a ?whites only? bar at the town, the protesters demanded the removal of Pretorius as a magistrate at the town.
In a petition handed over to the Omaheke Regional Governor, Festus Ueitele on the same day, residents said the community cannot afford to be served by people like Pretorius as he was promoting violence and degrading them by referring to them as ?objects?.
Residents called for the cancellation of Pretorius? work permit and for him to be deported to South Africa.
The protesters said the Namibian Government has adopted the policy of national reconciliation in order to put behind the ugly history of apartheid, and to embrace those who discriminated against them in the past.
?Reconciliation would mean we forgive but do not forget the wrongs done against us, those wrongs that robbed us of our human dignity, self-determination, self-worth, our land, cattle and minerals and put us in the conferment of small reserves and matchbox houses,? the petition reads.
The crowd of about 300 people led the protest march from Buffalo?s Bar - where the alleged racially motivated brawl which resulted in the hospitalisation of Katire took place - to the Gobabis Magistrate?s Court.
Some of the protesters called for the boycott of shops owned by those who are also alleged to be practising racial discrimination, and instead to support only those who have embraced national reconciliation and have elected to co-exist with all Gobabis residents.
?We have the buying power in Omaheke. We buy your products on a daily basis and when we ask you to meet your social responsibility, you give our profits away to your own schools and give our schools peanuts,? residents noted.
The residents have called for the closure of Buffalo?s Bar and for the local municipality not to allow the operations of similar undertakings in the future.
Since the assault incident a week ago, Buffalo?s has not opened its doors for business, although it could not be independently confirmed if it was closed down by the authorities.
Meanwhile, Swapo-Party Youth League Secretary, Elijah Ngurare has referred to the incident as ?barbaric and not needed in a democratic and free country like Namibia?.
?This is not just an insult to the independence of our country, but also to the efforts of those who have embraced national reconciliation, whether they are black or white, and should not be tolerated. We call on the perpetrators to be dealt with appropriately,? he told Nampa on Sunday.
Ngurare, who was accompanied by members of the SPYL central committee, stopped at the bar on their way to Windhoek from Epukiro where they held their central committee meeting.