by Charmaine Ngatjiheue
INSPECTOR general Sebastian Ndeitunga this morning said the police are receiving numerous complaints from truck drivers who feel they are not properly taken care of.
Addressing the Namibia Logistics
Association, he said cross-border truckers complain about their welfare,
stigmatisation, being paid poorly and being maltreated by the police.
“As a nation we know the essential role these drivers play, and we need to come together to help them. These drivers are really not feeling good about this and it can affect their work,” he said.
Ndeitunga wanted to know what the association does do to assist affected truckers – especially those who have lost their livelihoods.
He referred to an incident of a trucker who had arrived from South Africa, but was prevented from entering a shop in the south due to the police’s stigmatisation.
“Another incident is of a driver at Outapi who was prevented from using ablution and shower facilities which are available to the public,” he said.
Ndeitunga said truckers threatened to go on strike, and if that happened, Namibia would not have access to essential goods or services.
“These drivers perform an essential service for the nation and they are important,” he said.
Another call was for Namibia to maintain the safety of its drivers amid Covid-19.
Namibia Logistics Association secretary general Herald Schmidt said the association is astonished that the drivers chose to speak to the police about their issues as opposed to approaching the Ministry of Labour.
He said the association is fighting for the safety of drivers.
Schmidt said there is a need to look at the overall situation and see what has been done, adding Covid-19 has led to harsh working conditions.
“It may happen that certain individuals do not like to conform to change. With the implementation of Covid-19 regulations, there is a need to look at what has been done by the different cross-border companies,” he said.
Schmidt said the rigid enforcement of service-level agreements should be maintained. He said these agreements are driven by factors such as the safety of drivers.
The community called for people not to stigmatise truckers, especially since they are providing an essential service, he said.
“When we look at the economic aspect of this very serious threat, we realise we do not have all the answers,” he said.
Schmidt called for Covid-19-imposed regulations to be relaxed to allow for economic activity.
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