Wernhil taxi rank not safe
Windhoek’s main taxi rank next to the Wernhil Shopping Complex is turning into a hive of criminal activity where commuters are no longer safe, especially during the evening. The general appearance of the taxi rank reflects neglect, a factor named by several Katutura commuters as the underlying cause for the lack of safety.
Because of the chaos, confusion, pervasive litter and frequent, almost daily, muggings at the Wernhil taxi rank, the Economist wanted to find out what the Wernhil property manager and the City of Windhoek are doing to solve the problem. Customers are harassed by taxi drivers and thieves freely pick pocket commuters and at times, even shoppers in Wernhil itself.
Sylvia Rusch, Marketing and Public Relation Manager of Broll Namibia who is responsible for Wernhil said that they try to make sure that the customers are safe inside Wernhil. “The security guards make sure of that and chase the taxi drivers out of the building to stop them from harassing customers. Other than that we can do nothing outside of Wernhil, that is the responsibility of the City of Windhoek and the City Police, and we have communicated this to the City Police,” she said.
Mr Erwin Kamundu of the public transport department of the City of Windhoek said that they are not responsible for managing what happens at the taxi rank because that is the responsibility of the City Police. “We are responsible for making sure that the premises are clean and we have a hired a contractor to make sure of this, other than that our hands are tied,” he explained.
A spokesperson for the City Police said all they can do is respond to incidents if people call them and that they occasionally do patrols at the taxi rank especially at night. The officer encouraged the public to call them if they get robbed there, promising that the City Police will come to help them.
But Sylvia Nambili, who is a sales representative at Sheet Street said that even if they call the police they do not arrive and that the City Police only patrols Independence Avenue to make sure that the taxi drivers do not stop illegally. “Which is good but they should also come inside the taxi rank and stop the harassment by taxi drivers and especially by the drunk homeless people who frequent that area. I dread taking a taxi here every day,” she added.
The Namibian Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) did not respond to questions sent to them by the Economist.