Roadblocks Killed Holiday

Roadblocks Killed Holiday

THIS is an open letter to Namibia’s Minister of Home Affairs.

I spent my Christmas and New Year driving around and enjoying your picturesque country. This was not my first visit and it certainly won’t be my last.What really spoilt my time was the experience at two roadblocks, the one between Tsumeb and Ondangwa and that between Grootfontein and Rundu.How irritating that some of the people charged with manning these roadblocks are brazen enough to accost motorists into giving their relatives and friends (who usually are waiting on the sides) free rides.This is often targeted at African tourists bearing foreign plates, as they are easily intimidated into such requests, whereas whites would never put up with such idiotic requests.This sort of behaviour by the Ministry of Home Affairs must stop now, not tomorrow, but now.How irresponsible that people should use the power of roadblocks to accost foreign Africans in this way when they are road signs throughout Namibia explicitly forbidding picking up hitchhikers for one’s own security? Talk about a contradiction in terms! When I was stopped at the roadblock between Tsumeb and Ondangwa, and asked to give someone who worked at Mushara lodge a ride, I noticed that the official who demanded the request was neither in uniform nor wearing a nametag for identification.If Namibia wants to travel down the road to lawlessness and disorder this is how you begin; seemingly small things such as this that eventually mature into a culture of extortion.Here’s some advice; either remove the useless roadblocks as they are serving no purpose other than being vehicles for corrupt officials to extract favours from passing motorists.Considering Namibia’s frightening accident statistics these roadblocks are simply pathetic and a national disgrace.Or if these barriers are maintained people who man them must wear visible identification nametags with their photos on them.Since they are asking motorists for their details, driver’s license etc, the official’s own identification must also be clearly visible to motorists.James M.Pretoria, South AfricaThis was not my first visit and it certainly won’t be my last.What really spoilt my time was the experience at two roadblocks, the one between Tsumeb and Ondangwa and that between Grootfontein and Rundu.How irritating that some of the people charged with manning these roadblocks are brazen enough to accost motorists into giving their relatives and friends (who usually are waiting on the sides) free rides.This is often targeted at African tourists bearing foreign plates, as they are easily intimidated into such requests, whereas whites would never put up with such idiotic requests.This sort of behaviour by the Ministry of Home Affairs must stop now, not tomorrow, but now.How irresponsible that people should use the power of roadblocks to accost foreign Africans in this way when they are road signs throughout Namibia explicitly forbidding picking up hitchhikers for one’s own security? Talk about a contradiction in terms! When I was stopped at the roadblock between Tsumeb and Ondangwa, and asked to give someone who worked at Mushara lodge a ride, I noticed that the official who demanded the request was neither in uniform nor wearing a nametag for identification.If Namibia wants to travel down the road to lawlessness and disorder this is how you begin; seemingly small things such as this that eventually mature into a culture of extortion.Here’s some advice; either remove the useless roadblocks as they are serving no purpose other than being vehicles for corrupt officials to extract favours from passing motorists.Considering Namibia’s frightening accident statistics these roadblocks are simply pathetic and a national disgrace.Or if these barriers are maintained people who man them must wear visible identification nametags with their photos on them.Since they are asking motorists for their details, driver’s license etc, the official’s own identification must also be clearly visible to motorists.James M.Pretoria, South Africa

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