Police clamp down on illegal Windhoek-Gobabis taxis

05 Oct 2014 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 OCT (NAMPA) – A surprise sting operation to clamp down on illegal long distance taxis operating between Windhoek and Gobabis in the Omaheke Region caught several illegal operators off guard on Friday.
The joint operation between the City Police and the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) came after several business owners along Sam Nujoma Drive in Klein Windhoek complained to the City Police that the operators not only take up customer parking space, but some drivers allegedly also intimidate potential customers.
The taxis, both local and long distance, make use of the parking spaces in front of businesses in Sam Nujoma Avenue to pick up and drop off customers. Those who do not make use of the parking spaces stop in the busy road, causing obstructions in traffic.
Superintendent Belinda Griekwa of the City Police told Nampa on Friday this is not the first time such a joint operation between the City Police and NamPol is carried out as complaints are repeatedly received from business owners in the area about the conduct of the taxi operators.
“We talked to the operators about their needs, but up to now, we did not get any response,” Griekwa said.
The operation that lasted for about 90 minutes drew a lot of criticism from the operators who claim they have nowhere else to pick up customers.
Tolla Tjienda, one of the long distance taxi operators, said they have tried to engage the City of Windhoek on the matter on several occasions to see how they can work together, but have apparently not received any response.
“I think within a period of time we will give notice to the public that we will move from here,” Tjienda said.
One business owner who spoke on condition of anonymity told this news agency they are happy to see the police take action. He said once the police leave, however, the taxis are all back again, carrying on as before.
Desmond Isaacs, the manager of a fast-food outlet in the area, said he was also happy to see the taxi operators being dealt with as their conduct has affected his business in a negative way.
“We are not making the profit we are supposed to make because the operators take up our customers’ parking spaces. Some people are afraid to come here because some taxi operators intimidate the customers,” Isaacs said.
During Friday's operation, the City Police impounded seven vehicles, of which four were illegal operators. Three local taxi drivers ran away, abandoning their vehicles. Griekwa said one of the three taxi drivers who ran away has several outstanding warrants of arrest.
The vehicles were all impounded by the City Police, and Griekwa said the vehicles’ owners will have to approach the police to have it released.