Vendors in a pickle

• Mixed feelings about market closures

01 April 2020 | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU

Vendors in the north are unhappy with the closure of open markets as part of the coronavirus response.

In line with government directives, the Rundu town council on Monday informed vendors that they would not be allowed to trade at the town's markets until 16 April.

Street vending is also prohibited.



No takeaways

The news was a bitter disappointment for those whose livelihoods are threatened by the closures, especially food vendors.

Christine Paulus, a mother of three from Kehemu who sells Oshikundu and vetkoek, told Namibian Sun that her family depends on her income but she has no option but to comply.

“I am not happy but if the government is saying that it is to protect us from getting the coronavirus, I will just have to go home and pray that it all ends soon,” Paulus said.

Also severely affected are those employed to sell things on other people's behalf, as they are paid on commission.



Work from home

Other vendors such as tailors are not too bothered, as they can carry on working from home.

One of them is Cecilia Fandarius, a tailor from Ndama location, who says her clients will still be served as she will take her sewing machines home.

“I started working at home before coming to the open market, therefore am not affected that much. I am only affected as I will not get new clients but my regular customers know me and they will contact me and we will do business as usual,” Fandarius said.

Following orders

Rundu acting CEO Sam Nekaro said the council's decision to close the open markets was in response to a directive from ICT minister Peya Mushelenga's office.

“We simply followed the government directive,” Nekaro said.

Rundu has three open markets, but hundreds of other vendors trade on street corners.