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Home / ‘You will kill our businesses’ - Swakop mobile food truck owners

‘You will kill our businesses’ - Swakop mobile food truck owners

2023-10-30  Eveline de Klerk

‘You will kill our businesses’ - Swakop mobile food truck owners

SWAKOPMUND – Kiosk owners trading along the beach in Swakopmund say that moving their kiosks to the tennis court in town will kill their businesses. 

The council intends to move the kiosks and mobile restaurants to newly-identified sites in terms of the Town Planning Act, which will change the regulation of informal trading and kiosks.

In 2023, the economic development department of the council introduced a mobile food kiosk policy with the goal of reorganising and ensuring the smooth operation and oversight of mobile food kiosks in Swakopmund. During the initial stages of policy implementation, the council encountered resistance from some members of the community and mobile food kiosk operators. In response to these challenges, council consulted with the kiosk owners and residents living in Strand Street, who had been complaining about the apparent nuisance the kiosks and clients were causing.

Allegations are rife that the smell of cooking oil, fish, and chips causes a bad odour, and stains the windows of homes in Strand Street. Ironically, only two residents, two councillors, and municipal employees attended the meeting which took place in town last week. However, some concerned residents and kiosk owners asked to be told what the complaints against them were, but were referred to council meetings in the archives.

The two residents wanted to know when the council would implement the policy and move the kiosks from Strand Street, as the process has been dragging on.

“You said the kiosks would be removed in February from Strand Street, but that has never happened. Now, we are having a meeting. Will it happen, or are we wasting our time?”, one of the attending residents asked.

He charged that some of the kiosk operators do not adhere to the council’s regulations. However, allegations are that the complaints against the kiosks are the result of personal fights which are allegedly now used to settle scores from a business transaction that went wrong.

“There is no real issue. It is good and well that the municipality produced policies to regulate us, but outside influences should not push the agenda,” one of the kiosk owners New Era visited yesterday said.

Another kiosk owner, Jackie Kaela, said the municipality should have engaged with them to find an amicable solution before issuing the notices.

“The regulations we understand fully. But as I stand here, I don’t know what the complaints or the problems are,” she said.

She stressed that moving her kiosk to the tennis court will kill her business, as her clients do not even know that a tennis court exists in the town.

“I am catering to the average person who cannot afford a fancy meal. I cater to the person who just wants a decent meal and a fun time with their family; those who cannot afford to eat out at restaurants. If I move to the tennis court, those people do not even know there is a tennis court. This will kill my business, and those who make use of this area would be going to restaurants,” Kaela continued.

The municipality's corporate services manager Andre Plaatjie said during the meeting that changes in policy come as the industry grows. Initially, they were only getting applications to operate for two to three weeks, or holidays only. Over the years, the kiosks started operating throughout the year.

“Hence, we decided to insert a small paragraph into our policy to allow the CEO to decide on applications. We also made rules around it because there was no permission to make food on-site, and no open fires, amongst others,” he said.

Plaatjie added that they then produced a new policy to regulate kiosks. “Therefore, this platform gives people the opportunity to give comments and to ask questions, as well as for us to understand the concerns of all parties,” he noted.


2023-10-30  Eveline de Klerk

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