Police Evicts Street Vendors From Plot

OVER 60 vendors who sell fruit and vegetables as well as second-hand clothes on a piece of land outside Stop ‘n Shop in Okuryangava, have been evicted after the erf was sold by the Windhoek city council.

Last year the vendors applied to buy the plot, Erf 1741 from the municipality, but this did not materialise because they were told the land had already been sold to a third party, Bonadei Trust company.

In attempt to keep the plot, the vendors took the issue to court in March last year but lost the case (CR A2362013). However, the vendors did not stop operating from the plot up until last Wednesday. This is in line with a court order given to them on 27 March 2014, that they should move out by 2 April.

The vendors had also approached the city with another offer to buy the plot in March this year, citing fears of losing their business ventures and that they had become sentimentally attached to the plot.

Singing a liberation song during the interview, Florinda Susuka (35), a mother of five who has been selling vegetables at the plot for almost 11 years, said she has nowhere else to up a stall.

“This will affect my business and my ability to support my family. I have to pay my children’s school fees. How will I do that if I do not have a place to conduct my business?” asks Susuka, a resident in Okahandja Park informal settlement.

Another vendor, Anastancia Kampungu (32), who also lives in Okahandja Park and also sells fruit and vegetables urged the city to consider their plight as the spot had provided good business for them.

“Please give us another plot, we will pay a small fee if required to do so. We need to continue our business ventures. Where will we go from here?” asked Kampungu.

Andreas Kangongo, who also operates from the plot, said the city had turned a deaf ear to their predicament but suggested that the authorities should lease to them the plot adjacent to the Bonadei Trust’s erf, for a fee. “We can pool together the little money we have and pay for that plot.”

City of Windhoek councillor Benestus Kandundu confirmed that the vendors had approached him with a petition on 20 March and after listening to their pleas, he had decided to help them.

“I took their petition to the council meeting last week and I can assure you that it was taken note of. However, the office of the chief executive officer will know of any developments,” said Kandundu.

Speaking from China where he is on a business mission, chief executive officer Niilo Taapopi said he was aware of the petition but could not comment further at the moment.

City’s corporate communications officer Joshua Amukugo said his office was aware of the vendors’ plight but dismissed as untrue claims that council has done nothing about the issue.

“Most vendors accuse the city of not responding to their pleas when the response is not what they wanted to hear. The land cannot be given just like that since there are a lot of aspects to look at such as services. It is a dilemma for us as well but if the vendors see a free plot somewhere they can apply to buy it and if the council approves, they can get it for that agreed price,” said Amukugo.

An employee of Bonadei Trust, Giacomo Bonadei said he was aware of the situation but could not comment because he was in meetings and would contact The Namibian for a meeting this week.

Source : The Namibian