The alcohol is being smuggled from neighbouring Angola and Zambia, using illegal border crossings to beat a ban on alcohol sales.
Windhoek – Namibian police reported a jump in people smuggling beer and whisky from
neighbouring Angola and Zambia on Tuesday, using illegal border crossings
to beat a ban on alcohol sales that is part of the country’s
plan to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The African nation has, like a number of other
countries, matched restrictions on movement with curbs on booze
as a means of enforcing social distancing – a strategy
challenged by some experts and unpopular with many citizens.
Namibia has so far seen 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
with no deaths. Under lockdown laws, only the sale of liquor
with an alcohol content of 3% or less is permitted.
Police spokesman Linekeela Shikongo told local media there
had been an “overwhelming increase” in the sale of Angolan beer
in northern Namibia, while the Zambezi region in the north-east
had seen a steep rise in spirits smuggled from Zambia.
Sparsely populated Namibia is one of Africa’s biggest
countries by land mass, sharing its largely porous borders with
South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.
Namibia is also one of the top-10 beer consumers globally
“So far we have arrested a number of them and a number of
bottles were confiscated,” Zambezi police commander Karel
Theron said of the smugglers.
He added “a number of illegal immigrants” were arrested, but
later released, due to the lack of space in police cells.
“We’re having accommodation problems for the inmates. We
cannot accommodate all of them,” the police commander said.
Namibia, like South Africa, has been under lockdown since
March 27, with only workers in essential services allowed to
But in Zambia, only Kafue, a town in south-central
Zambia and its surrounds, is in a total lockdown.