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Ombudsman receives 1 500 complaints on Govt institutions

Written by on July 10, 2024

The Office of the Ombudsman was inundated with complaints about various governmental institutions in 2022.

The office reports receiving 1 523 complaints of maladministration from seven government institutions, representing 51,5% of total complaints.

This is according to a 2022 report from the Office of the Ombudsman.

“In addition, 337 cases of human rights violations were recorded, which equate to 13,4% of total complaints received by the office,” noted the report.

Most of the complaints were against the Namibian Police, with 574 cases involving food, medical treatment, assaults, poor treatment of staff, investigations and property.

The Office of the Judiciary is next, with 323 complaints relating to bail, appeals, court records and maintenance, while the Namibia Correctional Services had 253 complaints related to remission and parole, assaults by members, as well as the provision of basic necessities like toiletries, clothing and bedding for inmates.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security had 160 complaints related to citizenship, passports, prolonged detention and deportation, and confiscated documents, while the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture recorded 108 cases regarding the payment of gratuities and benefits, recruitment practices and the suspension of pupils.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation had 92 and 87 complaints, respectively.


According to the ombudsman, when they visited the Windhoek Police Station cells, they found 144 suspects detained at the facility, with a total cell capacity of 120.

At the Wanaheda Police Station, the ombudsman found 168 people in custody with a cell capacity of about 120.

“All cells have drainage holes in the middle which were blocked. As a result of this blockage, sewage sometimes flows through these holes. There is a shortage of toilet paper and inmates resort to using newspapers, which ends up blocking the toilets.”


The report further revealed that when the officials visited the Okahandja police cells, they found 116 people, while the cells have a capacity of 70.

“The overcrowding, as well as the inconsistent supply of cleaning materials, makes it difficult for the cells to be kept clean. This was evident by the dirty conditions we observed.

“The station is in desperate need of toilet paper, blankets, plates and all sorts of cleaning materials. The smuggling of contraband into the cells is a matter of concern at the station,” noted the report.

There were 203 inmates at the Oshakati police cells, with a capacity of 130. The Ondangwa holding cells, with the same capacity, had 156 inmates. The Ohangwena police cells, which are designed to accommodate only 30 people, had 143 inmates.

“The kitchen was extremely dirty and cockroaches were found looming around the kitchen and cells,” noted the report.

At the Swakopmund Police Station, there were 112 inmates in cells designed to accommodate 60 people.


Oshana police regional commander commissioner Naftal Sakaria told The Namibian yesterday overcrowding is still an issue in the region, despite efforts by the police and court to decongest the police holding cells.

Sakaria said last month about 91 inmates from three police stations – Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati – were released from custody after their bail was reduced.

“This did not help much, as the number of inmates coming in exceeds the number of those we release,” Sakaria said.

He pointed out that those who keep returning to custody are habitual offenders mostly involved in serious crimes such as housebreaking, theft and murders.

He said the number of inmates at the Oshakati police holding cells keeps increasing, because inmates are being referred there from other regions while waiting to appear in court, especially those who are to appear in the Oshakati High Court.

“Nothing I can do, as I can’t stop arresting the criminals but the situation is really bad,” Sakaria said.


Last month, police chief Joseph Shikongo urged police commanders during the opening of their training at Rundu to prioritise good hygiene and cleanliness in the police cells.

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