THE Erongo police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property at Henties Bay after the controversial gallows were almost destroyed over the weekend.
Video footage of the gallows being set on fire and photos depicting what seems to be an attempt to hack it down are doing the rounds on social media.
The footage comes a few days after the Henties Bay Town Council's management committee were set to decide on the future of the gallows after more than 4 000 petitioners demanded its removal.
The petitioners have given the municipality until 17 June to remove the gallows, but gave them another week, until 24 June, to decide.
They threatened that if the gallows are not removed, they would take the matter into their own hands.
Erongo crime investigations coordinator deputy commissioner Erastus Iikuyu yesterday said the arson attempt took place on Saturday, and that the suspect(s) used methylated spirits to set the gallows alight, but did not succeed.
"The suspect(s) also tried to cut the gallows off with an unknown object, but failed. It was further established the rope which was attached to the gallows has been removed, presumably by the same suspect(s)," he said.
Lebbeus Hashikutuva, co-organiser of the 'Gallows Must Fall' movement launched about two months ago, told The Namibian yesterday he saw the video, but could not confirm or deny it may have been a member of the movement's doing.
"The motive is unknown, and the custodian of the gallows [the municipality] didn't make a case yet," he said.
"We have over 4 000 voices added to the petition. It could have been anyone of them that was offended by the symbol that must come down," Hashikutuva said.
According to him, the municipality had until this past Wednesday to resolve the issue.
"We are waiting for them [muncipality]. We want to give them the opportunity to do what is right, but at the moment they are not very clear on what should be a very simple decision," he said.
Henties Bay mayor Herman Honeb said: "The petitioners must be patient for us to make an official decision. If they, however, decide to take a route that is unprocedural, then they are dealing with laws and consequences."