Pick 'n Pay manager clashes with vendors in Keetmanshoop

26 Jul 2013 08:20
KEETMANSHOOP, 26 JUL (NAMPA) – The manager of Pick ‘n Pay at Keetmanshoop says customer complaints about vendors selling fruit and vegetables in front of his business led to him attempting to remove the vendors from the area.
Pick ‘n Pay manager Johan Schoeman and four Rukavango-speaking women who sell their goods in front of the shop, were involved in an altercation on Thursday, with the vendors accusing Schoeman of pushing their goods into the street.
“The manager came and pushed our goods down. Our children were scared and crying when he started doing that. We went to the police but they did not help us, and told us go to the municipality,” an angry Maria Kativa told Nampa in front of the municipality building on Thursday.
All four women are in possession of licences from the Keetmanshoop Municipality which permit them to sell goods on the street.
“The way he approached us is not friendly. He was supposed to tell us that he does not want us at his place so that we can find other places, instead of pushing our things down,” said another vendor, Immanuel Ritta.
Approached for comment, Schoeman said he acted on the street vendors because his customers complained about them leaning on their cars and blocking the way to the shop.
“They eat dates and throw them around the whole place. I am also getting pressure from the head office because they are not needed here,” he said.
He went on to say the spot where the vendors do business is private property which belongs to Pick ‘n Pay, hence his decision to tell them to leave.
“It is not racism, I spoke to them peacefully but they told me it is a democratic country so I cannot order them to leave. Them sitting there is a bad image for the town. They should go to the business parks and open markets,” Schoeman stated.
Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor Hilma Nikanor, who was busy entering the municipality building at the time, picked up the story and decided to speak to Schoeman.
Briefing this news agency shortly after meeting with Schoeman, the politician said she ordered him to let the women conduct their business since the pavement does not belong to Pick ‘n Pay.
“He cannot claim private property there, because the women are on the pavement. That is the property of the town authority. He can also not take the law into his own hands and push things around, so we told him to let the women stay,” Nikanor said.