WHILE most businesses in the formal sector have reverted back to normal working hours, vendors are complaining that restrictive business practices imposed by the City of Windhoek on account of COVID-19 are preventing them from making optimal profits.
Sharing their views with Informanté, vendors from the Single Quarters, as well as the Soweto market, shared their challenges especially with regard to the fact that they are forced to shut down at 17:30.
Theresa Kefas, a mother of three, states that she makes ends meet by selling traditional grains and marula oil at the Single Quarters, but is struggling to make a profit as traders are forced to close shop at 17:30.
“Customers sometimes come at 17:30 as that is the time they are knocking off from work, however they find the gates closed. We are imploring the government to give us an extension until at least 19:00 for the sale of non-perishable goods. We have to pay for rent, but we are not getting customers,” Kefas said.
Another businessman at Single Quarters, Lazarus Titus also shared the same sentiments, adding that his case is especially severe.
“I am selling raw meat and I live in a squatter camp. I don’t have a fridge at home and it’s a heavy challenge to sell all my meat in one day, especially with the early closing hours,” Titus said.
He added that although the market had been shut from March 2020 until about April, vendors were still requested to pay for rent.
Titus added that due to this, the City of Windhoek should give them a payment holiday on rental fees for at least 2 months.
He further noted that they pay between N$400 to N$500 per month on rent.
At the Soweto Market, vendor Pius Shindume also echoed the same concerns.
He noted that while they are requested to pay rent of up to N$2,000, they are not allowed to advertise their businesses with signs outside the market, and only one gate at the market is opened, which keeps most customers from coming in as the queues sometimes get long due to the completion of the COVID-19 register at the entrance.