Exorbitant market rent sparks protest


Nuusita Ashipala

Oshakati-Vendors at Oshakati Open Market have petitioned Oshakati Town Council over the alleged exorbitant monthly rental fees that range between a N$100 and N$1,200 a month.

The vendors marched from the open market to the council’s office on Tuesday. In their songs they chanted that the rental fee per stall at the open market was too expensive and asked council to reduce the price. They say the market’s locality is hidden and this deprives them of customers.

“The fee was imposed on us, we never agreed on the rental fee and that is why it so expensive. They should give us an open market for the poor,” charged the vendors.

However, Oshakati CEO Werner Iita, who received the petition on behalf of the council, dismissed the claims saying that the rental fee was agreed upon and consented to by the vendors through their elected committee. The vendors maintained they never elected any committee. They claim the committee currently running the open market was imposed on them by the council.

“Our representatives are here with us, we do not know who elected the others. In fact, one of the people who is on the committee no longer operates from the market, so whose interest is she serving,” questioned the vendors.
The vendors further accused the council-appointed committee of issuing them with fake receipts when making payments.

“We want receipts extracted from a receipt book, because at times we are issued with receipts of papers drawn from any book available. Although they are stamped, how do we know our money is accounted for?” questioned the vendors.
In the petition handed over to the council, the vendors also accused council of threatening them.

“Some people are not issued fitness permits because they apparently have water or electricity [in their] areas, while others are threatened to pay up their rental fees or face eviction from the market. Why should they call us individually? They should come out and speak to the whole group.” Lukolo said.

While receiving the petition Iita said the vendors had not given council adequate time to deliberate on their concerns. The letter to hold the demonstration was written and delivered on Monday and the demonstration is took place on Tuesday.

He further advised the vendors to channel their concerns through their elected committees. The council was given 10 days to respond or expect another demonstration.

The demonstration on Tuesday follows on the heels of the one held earlier in May.


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