Central hospital vendors’ stalls removed

Home National Central hospital vendors’ stalls removed
Central hospital vendors’ stalls removed

Monday started like any other day for about 17 informal vendors, who sell their goods in front of Windhoek Central Hospital. But commotion soon engulfed the bustling informal market as City Police descended to dismantle stalls and ban traders. 

“When City Police came here, they decided that those guys are not supposed to trade here anymore because the ministry of health is complaining about the health of the patients: they come eat food that they are not supposed to eat, smoke and so on,” explained Mathius Kasonda, who runs a stall with his mother.

“They came and destroyed all the structures because they are saying they don’t want permanent makeshift structures around the area, as it is an illegal market,” narrated Kasonda. 

“They said people can only use gazebos and umbrellas, and things that they can pack away after they are done selling,” he continued.

With their products, ranging from oshikundu, fruits, vegetables, snacks and kapana, among other foodstuffs, these vendors catered to visitors, taxi drivers, staff and even patients of the hospital.

Their products are affordable and easily accessible right next to the main gate.

City spokesperson Harold Akwenye said the city wants to create a more conducive environment for all involved.

Akwenye said, “The decision to remove the kapana stands and old structures was prompted by several factors. Initially, there was an agreement between the City and the temporary vendors that they would only sell fruits and vegetables due to their proximity to the hospital. However, some vendors began selling meat products, which was not allowed, and they even started creating fire hazards. These vendors were instructed to switch to selling fruits, and those who didn’t comply were subsequently removed”. 

According to the group, some of whom who have been trading there from as far back as 2005, were caught off guard when the City of Windhoek officials arrived and instructed them to dismantle their makeshift structures. 

Akwenye said the City intends to find a suitable location to set up a proper market, and once this location is identified, the vendors will be informed to move there. The location, he assured, should address the need for proper structures and facilities for their operations, including ablution facilities.

“The use of gazebos and tents is considered a temporary measure until a more permanent solution can be implemented. It is understandable that this arrangement may not be ideal for the vendors. However, the City is actively working towards providing a better and more sustainable environment for their businesses,” said Akwenye.

However, the kapana vendors said they were told to pack up and not return. 

According to Kasonda, they were told to provide suggestions so that the City could construct an open market for them. 

Other vendors complained that the destruction of their makeshift structures has left them in a predicament, where they and their goods are exposed to the weather elements. 

“If we use an umbrella like this, the rainy season is coming; it is currently windy. Umbrellas won’t last; we will be buying umbrellas after every two days,” added another vendor. 

The group said it does not mind being charged for the market the city will construct, as it is better than sitting in the sun.

They allege that the centre wants their trading space for a parking lot, as a portion of the land where the kapana vendors were has been demarcated for parking. 

– enuukala@nepc.com.na