THE Native Small Traders Association at Katima Mulilo carried out an operation last week with local vendors to identify illegal foreign vendors and confiscated their goods as way of eliminating competition.
The chairperson of the Native Small Traders Association (Nasta), Mulijani Simasiku, told The Namibian yesterday during an interview that they will no longer tolerate unfair foreign competition for local street vendors.
"The local vendors are tired of competing with these illegal immigrants as this has been going on for years. We do not have a problem with those who are doing it legally but it has come to a point where any foreigner can just come in with a border pass and start selling on our streets.
"Local vendors need that little income they are making to feed their families. Therefore, these patrols will continue until everything is in order as we do not want to see any foreign vendors on our streets. They should return home, you will never see a Namibian selling on the streets of other countries because it's not allowed. So why do we have to be treated differently," he said.
Simasiku added that during their operation, they identified 69 illegal street vendors consisting of 30 Zimbabweans, 24 Zambians and 15 Angolans. The items confiscated during the operation ranged from eggs, vegetables, axes, cattle medicine, cellphone accessories, tablets and spears. "We handed these items over to the administrators at the open market and then the owners of these items can go pay a fine to get their items back," he said.
A local street vendor, Manga Mutuli, who also spoke to The Namibian yesterday, said that they do not make much income as street vendors and now they have to compete with illegal immigrants. "The population of the illegal street vendors is increasing every day and this is a concern for us. We go for days without selling anything at all, because of this unfair competition, so we decided to start removing them from our streets. We need the little income to feed our families, so they should get off our streets," she said.