Illegal car guards a thorn in the flesh at Swakopmund

01 Apr 2017 16:10pm
SWAKOPMUND, 31 MAR (NAMPA) – Legal car guards employed by companies in Swakopmund have raised concern of illegal ones stealing their clientele and developing a negative perception of them.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and the Swakopmund Municipality Traffic Department also deplored illegal car guards, saying they are mostly drunk and begging for money.
Legal guards interviewed by Nampa in the central business district complained their work is made difficult because some drivers do not treat them with respect and think they are beggars, illegal and suspicious.
“Some people think we are chance takers and desperate for money. We are working like everyone else, with the good intention to protect,” said Carel Nambahu from CarWatch Services.
Nambahu, 30, has been working on and off as a car guard since 2011 because he has other temporary jobs like that of a cook.
Depending on the tips that range from N.dollar 1 to N.dollars 10, he makes about N.dollars 100 per day.
Also from CarWatch is 42-year-old Matheus Nahanga, who was employed as a petrol attendant before his contract ended last month and he joined the company.
“I love to protect and keep peace, this is why I join my fellow Namibians here to ensure car safety,” said Nahanga, adding they do not assault thieves but work closely with the police.
NamPol’s Station Commander for Swakopmund, Inspector Moses Aebeb told Nampa illegal car guards are mostly drunk and operate without reflector jackets.
“Honestly, I am not happy with the whole car guarding, because of intruders but we are working on getting rid of them so that legal ones work freely.”
He noted that acting in the interest of legal car guards is also acting in the safety of drivers’ property, as car break-ins have decreased in areas where car guards are, such as central town, Pick ‘n Pay and Woerman Brock Mall.
Enears Andreas, 24, was running around and directing vehicles to parking bays in central town when Nampa approached him for comment.
“I do not have money for you my brother today but you can watch my car,” an elderly woman told him as Nampa waited to engage.
Andreas from CarWatch said he has no qualification and has been a car guard for about two years.
‘’I have family to support back home in the village and here, I pay school fees, electricity and buy bread with this money,” Andreas said before he ran off to assist another driver.
Manager of Traffic Services in the Swakopmund Municipality, Melvin Cloete told Nampa three companies are registered with the local authority to employ about 120 car guards.
These are CarWatch with 65 guards, Car Guard 29; and Namibian Car Watch with 25 guards.
Their guards wear red, blue or orange reflector jackets that are branded with company names and logos.
Cloete said illegal guards are unhygienic, mostly drunk and disturb tourists and local drivers by begging for money.
“I request the public and our visitors to stop giving tips to these people. They sometimes wear green reflectors but these are not branded.”
He advised drivers to always look for branded reflectors and ask for membership cards to make sure car guards are legal.
Johannes Matheus, who owns Namibian Car Watch, told Nampa he deals with illegal car guards by asking his to not allow them into their space.
“I tell my guards to chase them away whenever they see them. I also make it clear that if one allow their space to be occupied, they lose the job.”
Isai Nangombe, the manager of Car Guard, said the intruders start fights when asked to leave.
“They have weapons and are fighting us when we tell them to leave. This is not safe, we cannot continue fighting like this and I hope a solution will be found.”
Junias Shiyamba, who is in charge of CarWatch, told Nampa he created a platform for people to earn a living.
“I do not get money from them, I just help them to survive. Life is expensive and jobs are difficult to get if you are not educated. Without money you cannot survive.”
He said they contribute N.dollars 5 every month to the company, which is saved and used to pay for their social security and buy them branded reflector jackets. Other car guard companies operate on the same principle.
“We also give N.dollars 500 to any of them whose parent died or to their family when a guard member passes on.”
Shiyamba said his guards work for three day shifts for everybody to have an opportunity to earn a living as the parking bays in Swakopmund are limited.