Wernhill park under bridge vendors not happy with new rates

17 Sep 2017 16:20pm
By Linea Dischena
WINDHOEK, 17 AUG (NAMPA) – Vendors who operate under the bridge next to the Wernhil Park mall are unhappy with the proposed rental fees for the new Windhoek Flea Market, which have increased nine times more than the N. dollars 55 per month they currently pay.
The vendors who sell cooked food such as cabbage soup, fried chicken and fat-cakes among others, have to relocate to the newly constructed stalls under the same bridge.
The City of Windhoek and Broll Namibia erected the new stalls to promote Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs).
The rental fees, which include electricity, security, maintenance and a development recovery portion for a period of 10 years are N.dollars 2 358 for lockable stalls, N.dollars 515 for open trading areas, N.dollars 740 for food stands and N.dollars 745 for barbecue stands per month.
City of Windhoek’s Public Relations Officer, Lydia Amutenya in a media statement last week said the rental rates are in terms of Section 30 of the Local Authorities Act, Act 23 of 1992.
Speaking to Nampa in an interview recently, a group of eight disgruntled vendors stressed that they will not be able to afford the proposed rental fees as they are way too high compared to their monthly profits.
Katrina Jeseya, a 35-year-old mother of two said the city should note that the struggle brought them to sell under the bridge to help themselves and their families with the little profit that they make from selling food.
“How do I pay such fees per month if one only makes approximately N.dollars 1 200 profit per month, from where [must] I pay my rent, electricity and water?” asked Jeseya.
She stressed that although Government keeps telling people to be self-sufficient, the municipality wants to take all their effort through high rental fees.
Another vendor, Anna Hangula stressed that the food and barbecue stands do not have electricity sockets to plug-in their microwaves or stoves, but they are expected to pay for electricity.
“Which electricity are we going to pay for, if we are going to cook using our gas stoves as we are currently doing?” asked Hangula, adding that the only benefit with the current stands is the storerooms, as they will no longer have to travel with their items from home to town every day.
Another vendor, who preferred anonymity said the city was supposed to call a meeting with them so that they can engage each other on the setting up of the rental fees.
“If the prices [fees] are high because of the water and electricity, they should set up stands with own prepaid electricity and water, so that we can manage ourselves the use of the utilities because not everyone consumes the same electricity and water,” she said.
Currently, they buy 25 litres of water for N. dollars 5 from the car-wash opposite the bridge for cooking.