LAST year saw the introduction of the education levy which compels companies earning the favourable side of a million to commit funds towards the training of individuals at vocational training institutions such as the Vocational training centres in Windhoek and Ongwediva.
While this was undoubtedly a great concept and one that will take some pressure of the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund, it seems that that the concept has now been borrowed by the City of Windhoek, which decided to propose the security last week, where residents will essentially pay City Police for carrying out its operations.
Firstly, despite a lofty housing rate that is comparable only to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the City of Windhoek continues to operate in the red. This, if any was needed, is proof that the City of Windhoek itself does not have a significant enough budget to cater for the municipal police.
The question that arises is why the amendment of the Police act is not the first option that is looked at when considering the various options of how to create a sufficient budget for the City Police to carry out its operations efficiently.
If the case is such that the police act, which covers both national and municipal police, did not have room for a budget specifically for the municipal police, then why must the residents pay the price for this shortfall in policy formulation? Is this solution solely for Windhoek or will it be adopted by other municipalities across the country as well?
One aspect that is akin to the lack of a sufficient budget for the City Police is the fact that money collected through fines does not find its way to the City Police coffers and rightly so.
A society where the municipal police fines residence to fund its operations can never be sustainable as it will either require the residents to not abide by basic laws or for police officers to issue fines in an unjust manner.
For the municipal police to function appropriately, there is an evident need for a separate budget to be formed that caters specifically to municipal police in Windhoek and other municipalities across the country. It makes little sense that residents should be charged directly for the salaries of City Police officers when they already pay tax in numerous forms. The Municipal Police should be funded by the government through an extension of the police act and in the same manner that the National Police is funded.
Although the nitty-gritties of the Security Levy have not been availed, some questions have already surfaced, particularly pertaining to whether all the residents will be required to pay the security levy or only certain sectors of the city since it’s not a foregone conclusion that all the residents of Windhoek will be able to pay the N$50 that the levy would require them to.
Will people in the areas of Windhoek with no electricity or water (essentially informal settlements) also be required to pay this security levy? Will individuals be deprived of police services should they not be in a position to pay the Security levy? These are all questions that will need to be probed further before the proposal of the security levy can be taken seriously.