Swakopmund Open Market not condusive for business

SWAKOPMUND: About 24 vendors who unceremoniously deserted their rented spaces at the Swakopmund Open Market in 2011, owe the local authority unpaid rental fees.

The market is situated opposite the taxi rank in the Mondesa residential area.

Nampa managed to establish that the vendors owe the municipality between N.dollars 104 to N.dollars 2 104 per person.

The vendors were occupying the spaces on one-year contracts to sell among others fruit, vegetables, sweets, biscuits and mobile phone recharge vouchers to passengers of the taxis and other residents of the area.

Fenny Namadhila, one of the only two women remaining at the open market, told this agency on Thursday that most vendors deserted their formal business spaces to go and sell their products in the streets and/or from their houses.

She said the facility was built far from the taxi rank where most customers are found.

“Our apples and bananas were getting rotten at the open market, so people started leaving until there were only six of us left. Now, we are only two,” the vendor added.

There are also walls blocking customers to see their products, which is among the reasons vendors vacated the market without settling their debts with the municipality.

“Although we are still occupying and paying for our spaces, we sometimes go closer to the taxi rank so that people who are searching for buses can see our products and possibly buy,” Namadhila noted.

She said the municipality was supposed to consult the community before they built the market for their input on how they would have wanted it to be constructed.

Approached for comment, the Swakopmund Municipality’s communications officer, Aili Gebhardt said the council will follow its Credit Control Policy in order to recover their money.

“A consultative meeting was conducted with street vendors and members of the public in the Swakopmund Town Hall by former mayor Germina Shitaleni during 2010,” she explained.

Gebhardt said the vendors were leasing spaces for N.dollars 66 per month, contrary to Namadhila’s claim of N.dollars 200 per month.

The open mark has 84 spaces, but since it inauguration in 2010 only 24 people occupied stalls, but most gradually left.