Magistrate ring alarm on court security

09 Feb 2014 13:00pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 09 FEB (NAMPA) – The lack of security at the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court is a huge concern to people working there.
Principal Magistrate at that court, Philanda Blockstein-Christiaan voiced this concern on Thursday during a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Justice Tommy Nambahu in that court building.
Nambahu and Deputy Director of Court Administration Eino Uushona are on a four-day familiarisation visit to all //Karas and Hardap regional courts. Their first stop was in Keetmanshoop.
“I am really concerned about the security in this place as anyone can walk in here any time. Apart from the police officers who are here on day shifts, we do not have a security guard to watch the building overnight,” she said.
Nampa learned during the meeting that the alarm system in the building is not connected to a security company, and when the security system is breached and the alarm sounds, no emergency response is guaranteed.
Another problem is that the wall surrounding the court building is low, and anyone can jump over it. There is no electric fence.
Administration staff at the court who also attended the meeting, informed Nambahu that they fear for their lives, especially after hours in a building which is not guarded.
“Sometimes we stay late at the office to finish our work, but as we are working we are scared that someone might just come in and rob or kill us,” one female staff member said.
Court officials were startled by an arson incident in November 2013, when two men set the court’s secretary office on fire in an effort to destroy specific police dockets.
This incident left the court without a photocopy machine for almost three months, resulting in court officials having to use the photocopy machine at the Office of the Ombudsman. Fortunately, a new photocopy machine was delivered to the court on Thursday.
Other staff members noted the need for armed security guards to escort them to the banks to make cash deposits.
These officials said they sometimes have to transport large amounts of money from the court to the banks, and this is currently done without a police officer or a security guard accompanying them.
Responding to the matter, Nambahu assured that these security problems will be sorted out this year.
“We cannot continue to operate like this, it is dangerous. We will make sure that a security officer is employed to watch the building overnight and that the alarm system is connected to a security company.
“There is also a need for metal detectors to be placed at court entrances to control access of firearms and other weapons inside the court building,” he added.
The deputy minister also promised that a security company will be hired soon to transport money to local banks instead of court employees.
“Windhoek is the only place where such security measures to transport money is in place,” Uushona said.