WALVIS BAY – Informal traders at Walvis Bay are unhappy due to the fact that not all of them are allowed to trade at the local open market.
The Walvis Bay municipality last week opened the revamped Ekutu market after government allowed the informal sector to trade under strict conditions.
However, only a limited number of traders are currently allowed on condition they are registered with the municipality.
Goods sold inside are also limited to fruits and vegetables as well as packaged dried food.
Those selling fish and vetkoek, among others, should prepare their food at home before selling.
Traders operate on a two-day rotational basis at Ekutu, with only 46 traders allowed to trade per day and only 20 customers allowed at once.
This has caused discontent among the traders, who on Saturday explained they hardly make enough money in a day and that some of their food items perish while waiting for their turn.
“I cannot complain if I come back tomorrow and find someone else at my place. It is so frustrating and sad that we have to resort to this. Nobody can operate like this. Imagine we have been home for almost a month without making anything,” one of the traders explained on Saturday.
Tulimekondjo Iishitile, the manager for economic development at the Walvis Bay municipality, told the traders the current regulations are in line with Covid-19 preventative measures and is currently the best way to accommodate all traders.
“The opening of the market provides an opportunity for the traders to earn some income during these hard times. Although what they will be making will not necessarily be as much as they are used to, it will still go a long way in helping to provide for their families,” she explained.
Iishitile said the opening of the markets can present challenges if the vendors do not adhere to the set regulations that not only protect them but their clients as well.
“It is not the most ideal way to trade but strict precautionary measures, including hygiene, while adhering to social distancing and trading guidelines are of utmost importance as the world, including Namibia, is battling with the deadly Covid-19 virus,” she said.
She then appealed to vendors to take the measures seriously or else have their trading permits revoked.
She also explained that they will be conducting monitoring activities at the market regularly to make sure all regulations are adhered to.
Apart from that traders also received protective gear such as gloves, sanitizer and water.