Windhoek-The City Police started their long-planned clampdown on illegal car washes and closed 19 such businesses in Katutura.
The operation started at the Single Quarters in Mungunda Street that teems with car washes. It began in the morning and ended in the afternoon.
The illegal car washes were issued with a fine of N$1 000 and a notice to immediately cease operations, besides having their water and electricity disconnected.
City Police members were accompanied by City of Windhoek officials from the water and electricity departments who were on hand to disconnect the water and electricity of car washes that fell foul of municipal regulations.
Water and electricity will be restored within 48 hours once the owner pays water and electricity reconnection fees. But before the reconnections the municipality with inspect the car wash.
According to the City Police’s last audit, done end of last year, Windhoek has over 300 car washes of which less than 20 are legal.
City Police spokesperson Cillie Auala confirmed that before water and electricity would be reconnected an inspection will be done to see if the car wash complies with regulations and had remained closed during the stipulated 48-hour shutdown period.
A car wash owner at the Single Quarters, Ndatitangi Alweendo, who is waiting for issuance of a fitness certificate, received a notice to cease operations because his business had exceeded his erf boundaries. He received a fine of N$1,000 and had his water and electricity disconnected.
Alweendo told New Era it cost him up to N$50,000 to put up all the required infrastructure to ensure he complied with municipal requirements.
Another resident of Mungunda Street, Abnel Petrus, who had closed his car wash was still issued with a fine of N$1,000 for subletting his water connection and operating on municipal land. He was issued with a notice to cease operating because the car wash shades are outside his boundary walls – they are on municipal land. He also had his water disconnected.
Unhappy with the disconnection of water Petrus said he would have preferred to get a fine first and should he still not comply then the water be disconnected. He asked why the police did not say they would also be looking at whether businesses are operating within the boundaries.
“I have two people with small children who need water. I will see where to get water as we can’t live without water,” he remarked.
City Police senior superintendent Gerry Shikesho said car wash owners who have closed their car washes because they do not comply with requirements should remove the shades.
“We know these businesses. They tell you they have stopped operating but you just leave for two minutes and they continue operating,” he said.
Car washes in Windhoek employ hundreds of people and are a source of livelihood.