Infrastructure, Science and Technology minister Nonofo Molefhi has ordered the immediate closure of the Dibete Police Station to avoid imminent disaster and threat to the lives of police officers and the public.
The multimillion pula building that was officially opened on the 24th May 2008 by then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Dikgakgamatso Seretse is now badly dilapidated, with cracked walls and floor. The danger in condition of the structure became clear when suspects were allegedly trapped in holding cells as the doors refused to open, thanks to earth-quake-like defects on the building.
A warning sign placed at the entrance of the Dibete Police Station currently reads thus ‘‘Dibete Police Office has moved to the old office near barrier gate. Sorry for inconvenience’’. The Botswana Gazette team was able to sneak inside the abandoned build as it was unlocked and observed sunlight-letting cracks on walls and the floor and ceiling falling off to the ground. Officers who this publication spoke to say the building has been a disaster waiting to happen ever since it was commissioned in 2008.
While Police Spokesperson Dipheko Motube tried to deny that the office was completely evacuated in an interview with this publication, Minister Molefhi confirmed in a brief interview outside parliament last week that he ordered the closure of the Dibete Police Station and moved it to the old building.
Motube, despite first hand obsevations by this publication, claimed that only a part of the police station had developed defects some years after its completion. ‘‘This part of the building has since been vacated by police personnel pending assessment by the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services.”
The Botswana Gazette can confirm with certainty that the new Dibete Police Station structure is no longer in use and services were moved to the old building which only houses the community service centre and the holding cells. Makeshift caravans have been erected behind this old building to accommodate some of the officers.
The building where the station was moved itself poses problems as it considerably aged and is too small to accommodate the entire police personnel which includes CID officers, Traffic Section, Station Commander among other officers who require separate offices.
While Motube says they are awaiting assessment by the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services, this publication has been reliably informed that the recommendation is that the entire building be demolished so that a new structure is built. It is however interesting that staff houses built by the same contractor who built the police station are intact and in good condition.