Coastal traders ask for restrictions to be lifted

18 June 2020 | Business

Ogone Tlhage

Informal traders at the coast have joined those asking for level-one restrictions to be lifted in the Erongo Region, saying that they have lost significant income because of the lockdown.

One of the group's representatives, Pius Benyamin, said the lockdown was making it hard for informal traders to earn a living.

“We want street vendors to sell their products; people are in their houses without food,” Benyamin said when approached for comment.

“How do you expect people to cooperate with the restrictions if they are hungry?” he added.

“We want to be able to sell our products again on the streets.” In a letter to President Hage Geingob, the group represented by Benyamin asked the president to lift the restrictions.

“We are pleading with our good president to assist us to lift the lockdown imposed on the Erongo Region. We understand the effects of the coronavirus pandemic but we will die of hunger rather than of the coronavirus if nothing is done.”

The group also asked for financial assistance on top of the N$750 Emergency Income Grant.

“We have lost business income and landlords are still collecting rent. We are pleading with government to come to our rescue and aid us with paying rent, food and water and electricity; we cannot afford it anymore,” the letter reads.

Earlier request to lift lockdown

The letter follows an earlier request made by Walvis Bay lawyer Thersius Biermann, who at one point raised the possibility of approaching the High Court to have the lockdown declared illegal.

Biermann last week told Namibian Sun that consultations with the government were under way in Windhoek. “We are consulting in Windhoek to determine the best way forward. We want to move to stage three of the lockdown regulations. If government is unwilling, we will have to approach the High Court on an urgent basis,” Biermann said.

A petition for lifting the lockdown had attracted 1 000 signatures last week, Biermann said.

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