Vendors and Council on Collision Course

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By William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI Street vendors have accused officials from the Oshakati Town Council of being instigated by the Angolan Consulate to chase them away. The vendors are located just a stone’s throw from the Angolan Consulate across the road, near what is known locally as Okagongo kAambalantu. According to vendors, consulate officials have been complaining that the sellers of roasted meat, vetkoek, fresh and fried meat, ombike – a highly potent homebrew, fruit beer, milk and marula juice, and together with taxi and bus drivers, were causing noise and air pollution in and around their offices. As a result they went to complain to the town council for the vendors and other people doing business nearby to be evicted. The Angolan Consulate is located in the former Standard Bank building that is near the loading zone for people using the Oshakati-Ruacana road. It is prime space considered to be the hub for lucrative business activities, vendors and long distance bus and taxi-drivers. On Wednesday, town council officials wanted to conduct a meeting to discuss the issues related to cleanliness in the town and the possible complaint of the Angolan officials but people did not want to listen as they went ahead with their usual business activities. Oshakati Town Council spokesperson Lot Nehemia confirmed the abortive meeting was postponed to Monday, April 11 because the vendors were not paying attention to the speeches of the council officials. As a way to contain and control the vendors and other stakeholders, Nehemia noted, no one will be allowed to conduct any business next Monday until after the meeting. Asked whether the town council’s action was prompted by the complaint from the Angolan Consulate, Nehemia said this was not the case. “We have all along been conducting such meetings before the complaint of the Angolan Consulate to inform the people about the health policies, regulations and other related by-laws of the town council. “So it has nothing to do with the complaint of the Angolan Consulate,” said Nehemia. Among the town council officials expected to address the meeting on Monday will be the chief executive officer (CEO) John Nghihepa, the mayor Engelbert Atshipara and members of the management committee.