Windhoek-Some police officers stationed at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region stand accused of employing Zambian nationals to operate their taxis. Those implicated in this practice seem to prefer Zambian cab drivers whom they pay a paltry monthly salary of between N$600 to N$800.
Local taxi drivers on the other hand are paid 20 percent of the monthly takings, compelling policemen who have taxis to look for cheaper labour from Zambia in order to maximise profit.
Those with taxis can in a good month make between N$7,000 to N$8,000 of which N$1,400 to N$1,600 will be paid to the cab driver for his labour, while the Zambians are paid a fixed wage of as little as N$600 irrespective of whether the revenue generated in that particular month was good or not.
New Era was informed around 15 foreign nationals drive taxis belonging to Namibians at the north-eastern town where some of them are in the employ of Namibian police officers who on the other hand are prohibited from having taxis and other businesses in terms of the Police Act.
Zambians employed as taxi drivers are also in breach of the law that regards taxi driving as an occupation like any other, and anybody who intends to reside in Namibia for the purpose of employment is required by the Immigration Control Act to have a work permit, which can only be issued if there is a shortage of people who qualify to do the particular job that the applicant is applying for. “Currently Namibia does not have a shortage of taxi drivers, therefore our government would not issue a permit to a foreigner to come into the country to work as a taxi driver,” said a source that requested anonymity.
It is further alleged the police officers also purchase maize meal from Zambia and sell it for a discounted price in some areas of the region. The maize meal is being sold in New Cowboy, Makaravan East and New Look where they fetch between N$150 to N$180 for a 25-kilogramme bag.
At this stage it is not yet clear if the owners of the taxis applied for any permission for remunerative work outside the public service as is required by law.
Regional Commander of the Zambezi Region, Commissioner Karel Theron, informed this reporter that it would be premature for him to give feedback on the matter without doing further investigations.
He further asked to be sent the plate numbers of the vehicles being operated by foreign nationals, to track down the vehicle owners and verify if the drivers have their papers in order.
“I’m not here to take sides with police officers – if a police officer does something wrong, the law has to take its course with the particular officer. However, unfounded allegations have to be investigated to come to a conclusion to establish the merits of the case,” said the commissioner.