Police officers at the Katima Mulilo Police Station are welcomed to work each morning by the smell of raw sewage when they report for duty.
This is because of overflowing sewage ponds at the police station, which are attributed to old infrastructure.
The station currently houses about 200 members of staff, and close to 300 inmates, despite having a cell capacity for only 80 inmates.
Speaking to the local media yesterday, station commander chief inspector Charles Mayumbelo described their working conditions as unconducive.
He said their daily operations and health are being compromised due to the overflowing sewage.
The issue dates back to 2021, when he came into office, he said. However, up to now, no solution has been found.
“We, as the Namibian Police, are supposed to be the pride of the nation with the services we provide. However, we cannot go on to serve our people in such a hazardous situation; a sick police officer cannot provide the services needed by the people.
“Every day, I have to go to my doctor to get treatment for my blocked nose and chest pains,” he said.
The situation needs an urgent solution, because whenever the sewage overflows, they are forced to move inmates to other cells despite overcrowding, which is a health hazard.
Sergeant Bassie Mutonga said it is embarrassing to serve the public with faeces in front of the offices, and they are not able to enjoy their lunch at work due to the awful smell.
“Our health is compromised as every week our offices are flooded by sewage. As a pregnant woman, I am also concerned for the health of my unborn child,” she said.
Regional head of administration deputy commissioner Magdalena Garises noted that the infrastructure at the charge office is in a dilapidated state, including the sewerage infrastructure; therefore, the only solution is to build a new charge office.
“We are the ones that will be blamed if any of the inmates get sick, so this problem needs urgent attention. Our police officers at the charge offices are frustrated because of this situation, even to the point where the station commander was threatening to work from home yesterday,” she said.
Katima Mulilo Town Council chief executive officer Raphael Liswaniso, when approached for a comment, said they are not responsible for the maintenance of manholes within the police station, however, he suggested that the manholes should be unblocked.
He said a health inspector had assessed the situation and deemed it hazardous to keep inmates or staff in such a sewage-infested place.