GROOTFONTEIN - Hundreds of street vendors in Grootfontein are defiant on moving into the recently constructed open market.
They argue the place is not strategically located and there is limited space to accommodate all.
Showing their disapproval, over 200 street vendors staged a protest on Monday, petitioning the municipality to relook at the decision, while suggesting that additional space be created to allow over 600 traders to start selling.
The recently constructed temporary market is the town’s only open market. It can only accommodate 130 vendors under Covid-19 informal trading regulations. According to the municipality, this was set up as a temporary measure while they strive to find ways on how to provide for all traders. The municipality is still planning to construct a long-term structure.
For many years, vendors have been operating on a free range, although with a fee of N$90, at designated points around town, but since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, things took a nose dive, thus prompting precautionary measures to be put in place to contain the further spread.
Although the group of protesting vendors operated in the open or under plastic shades, they are opposing the recent structure with a roof and stalls as well as ablution facility, citing that it does not protect them from harsh weather conditions.
The group therefore requested to be placed opposite Meteor Hotel, Engen and Shell Service station for the time being. “We must at least be temporarily allowed to trade at our old places of business while the municipality is still negotiating and deliberating on our request,” appealed the group in a petition read out to the CEO, Kisco Sinvula.
“It is not our fault that the town had no single open market since independence, but that of our elected leaders who took an oath to promote, uphold and protect the constitution of this country and follow the local authority Act directives but failed. Therefore, they should be blamed for what is happening and owe us an apology for betraying us for 30 years of independence,” further read the petition.
Meanwhile, the CEO said it will be premature to comment, as the petition has been copied to the minister and the governor. “All I can say is the council has tried its best to provide for the residents under the current financial terms and Covid-19 situation, while we review and look on how to assist. Anyway, it’s their democratic right to refuse, based on their views, but this is what we are able to offer at the moment,” said Sinvula.
2020-07-15 15:25:30 | 3 months ago