WINDHOEK - Omusati Police Regional Commander, Commissioner Titus Shikongo has urged the vendors in the region to comply with the rules of the town councils to avoid clashes with the police.
The police and the Outapi Town Council held a meeting on Wednesday to reach an amicable solution on issues that led to heated confrontations at the town recently.
The regional commander said that the town council and vendors agreed that those vendors who are genuinely in need of space must approach the town council and submit their names, so that the town council will see if they find space or existing open market or make an additional market.
The police in Outapi recently used pepper spray to disperse about 100 street vendors who went on an angry rampage, after the police allegedly confiscated and threw away the goods they were selling.
Amongst those teargassed indiscriminately were three toddlers strapped on their mothers’ backs, witnesses said.
Four suspects from the group were allegedly taken in for questioning, after the vendors allegedly threw stones at the police, targeting vehicles that were disposed to the scene to quell the riot.
Shikongo who describe the meeting as fruitful and conducted in a sober manner said that the police are just enforcing the municipality by-laws and if the vendors comply with the law they will be no confrontation.
“All we want is for them to comply with the law so that they will not have any problem with anyone. They must abide by the law and avoid all possible confrontation with the police, clarified Shikongo.
He further explained that of course the police will not appreciate it getting in confrontation with the public members but at least the members of the public need to abide by the laws.
Approached for comment, the Outapi Chief Executive Officer Ananias Nashilongo said that they have explained to the vendors that they must just use the existing open market.
“Our law does not allow people to sell at a walkaway area. They just have to go back to the open market. The open markets are put there on expenses of government money for the people to work from there; therefore people need to use these facilities,” said Nashilongo.
He said both the town council and police are not at fault because they are simply implementing the law.
“We are not the one that made the laws, it is the Cabinet. The law does not allow anybody to sell in the street and block the walkaway. It also has to do with the healthiness of the society. Open market has ablution facility, water and shade for free but in the street there is nothing. In the street, people are helping themselves behind open areas at shopping malls and if you go around those shops, you will not believe it, when it rains all those dirtiness flow with water and then the town begin to smell,” said Nashilongo.
He said that the reason why the Omusati Region is toping in the list of Hepatitis E is because of such filthiness caused by the street vendors.
He said for seasonal vendors, the council will be able to create special space after they register themselves.
“After we receive the list, we will call them in physically so that we will educate them and reach an agreement,” said Nashilongo.