Claims of police brutality, mistreatment by nurses in Erongo

29 Aug 2015 11:50am
SWAKOPMUND, 29 AUG (NAMPA) - Young people in the Erongo Region have complained of police brutality and mistreatment by State nurses and doctors.
Speaking on behalf of the youth, the acting chairperson of the Erongo Youth Forum, Asser Enos !Aibeb accused the police of assaulting people and sometimes refusing to help members of the public.
He also alleged that pregnant women are being insulted and not attended to on time by nurses and doctors.
!Aibeb made the remarks during President Hage Geingob’s interactive meeting with members of the public in Swakopmund on Friday.
“Sometimes if a baby is not appealing in the eyes of the nurse, the mother is being told 'you must be careful of who you opens you legs to',” he informed the President.
Geingob immediately requested the commander of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in Erongo, Commissioner Samuel /Hoebeb, Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku and Minister of Presidential Affairs Frans Kapofi to respond.
/Hoebeb acknowledged that such attitudes could happen undercover, but said when detected, his office will address it.
“These things are taught and discouraged at the police training and at parades on a daily basis. But I have taken note of the complaints and I will notify the officers during our parades to stop such attitudes. I regret that there are individuals who are tarnishing the image of the force but we will take it up,” he said.
Haufiku admitted that such behaviour does exist in his ministry across the country and a turnaround strategy to ensure that efficient service is given to patients is being implemented.
“I experienced it myself when somebody complained about a certain nurse in Windhoek and I tried to talk to the nurse but she refused to talk to me. Now imagine the reaction of that nurse to an ordinary person,” said the minister.
Haufiku noted that as a minister, he does not have the power to fire nurses and doctors as that is done by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
“If I had the power to discipline nurses and doctors I would rather fire the person but I have no power,” he told the community.
Kapofi on his part added that the situation is unacceptable as public servants should serve in the interest of the public.
“When you are there as a nurse or police officer, you are not a boss, you are a servant of the people of this country. You must serve the public,” Kapofi advised.
He urged members of the public to immediately report police officers whom they find to be abusive to higher authorities for immediate action.
On the issue of disciplining or firing nurses, Kapofi said the minister can recommend such actions with evidence to the PSC where disciplinary hearings or even dismissals can be executed.