THE countrywide protest action by the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) that was planned for Thursday continued on Friday and Saturday with severe disruption at the Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay.
The management of the Dunes Mall had no choice but to intervene and block members of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement who disrupted the business of all retail outlets after they threatened customers while marching through other parts of the shopping centre.
This was happening while management of the Checkers branch was meeting with striking employees.
On Friday, aggrieved workers employed by Shoprite, Checkers and USave accused NAFAU of siding with the retailer instead of carrying their plight forward.
The workers requested the AR to assist them to close shops countrywide to drive their message home.
The action from the AR resulted in rubber bullets being fired at protesters, while in Walvis Bay, customers had to wait for long periods of time to get into or out of the premises of the Dunes Mall while entry gates to the private premises were blocked.
The Namibian Police also had to intervene at Keetmanshoop and Tsumeb when the protester started getting out of hand.
At the Dunes Mall, the management of the property decided to increase security at the entry gates and did not allow strikers to enter.
The AR members demanded to be let into the premises because they had food and water for the striking Checkers employees.
The same courtesy and assistance was, however, not extended to employees of Shoprite in the central business district of Walvis Bay.
At the entrance to the mall, employees of security companies, assisted by the Namibian Police, controlled entrance and exits from the shopping centre while members of the AR shouted at them.
The former constituency councillor of Walvis Bay, Knowledge Ipinge, who led the protest action at the Dunes Mall said the shopping centre’s management should stick to managing the property and should not interfere with the ongoing strike.
“The moment the mall management interferes it calls for us as community activists to also interfere,” Ipinge said.
In a statement issued by the Namibian Police, both the AR and employees of the shopping chain were accused of being in violation of the agreement signed with authorities to a stage mass action countrywide.
Permission for the official Shoprite and NAFAU protest action was granted for Thursday 14 January 2021 only.
“The subsequent mass action conducted on Friday and Saturday is illegal,” the NamPol statement reads.