OSHIKUKU: Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Minister Jerry Ekandjo and members of the Oshikuku Town Council in the Omusati Region engaged in private talks at the town on Saturday.
Omusati regional councillor for the Oshikuku Constituency, Modestus Amutse, and the Swapo-Party coordinator of the Oshikuku District, Eunice Nambala, also attended the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour behind closed doors.
The main purpose of the meeting remains unknown, but sources close to the talks that preferred to remain unnamed, told Nampa that Ekandjo went to Oshikuku to listen to the disputed relocation of street vendors to the town’s newly-constructed open market.
“Street vendors refuse to go and operate their businesses at the new open market, arguing that it is not strategically located and there is no taxi rank or bus terminal provided,” the sources said.
Oshikuku street vendors used to operate from their own shacks at the centre of the Omulamba informal settlement, located along the Oshikuku-Oshakati main road, since before Oshikuku was proclaimed a town a few years ago.
“The street vendors, who were relocated to the new open market, returned to their shacks, claiming they have no customers at the open market,” said deputy mayor of Oshikuku, Bokoma Mungadjela, when approached for comment shortly after the meeting with Ekandjo.
Mungadjela pointed out that the council of Oshikuku invested about N.dollars 700 000 to establish a new open market at the town recently.
Apart from the open market issue, Mungadjela said the council of Oshikuku informed Ekandjo about the lack of serviced land at Oshikuku, as the town is faced with a high demand for residential and business plots from the community.
“The demand for serviced land remains high, but we, as a small emerging town, have not yet the financial ability to service sufficient land as per demand of the community,” Mungadjela noted.
According to the deputy mayor, Ekandjo appealed to the town leadership to operate as per the needs of its residents, and to refrain from selling the land/plots at high prices if residents, including the low-income groups, are to be given the opportunity to acquire property.
Oshikuku is one of four towns in the Omusati Region, besides Outapi, Okahao and Ruacana.