THE City of Windhoek wants 81 tenants at Herero Mall, Katutura, to sign lease agreements before giving them access to electricity.
This was the resolution of a council meeting after the municipality recently completed the installation of electricity at Herero Mall.
“The activation of electricity on site will be done upon the signing of lease agreements by the traders at the site,” the municipality says in its meeting highlights.
The leases will be valid for 12 months.
Another condition for traders is to acquire liquor licences and fitness certificates, and to meet health regulations.
The traders at the mall are currently not paying rent for the use of stalls.
They are, however, paying for the use of prepaid water meters.
“Monthly rental payments need to be introduced at the sites for the occupation of the land and upon signing lease agreements.
“This measure would curb the further illegal occupation of the land, and would reduce the level of crime at the site,” the council’s agenda document reads.
The city also plans to develop Herero Mall as a business complex, instead of a formalised market to accommodate alcohol sellers.
Each trader is expected to pay about N$164 monthly.
Through this arrangement the City of Windhoek would collect N$13 284 per month from 81 traders.
Annually, this is expected to reach N$159 106 for rent, and N$168 000 for electricity.
The municipality has spent N$959 268 on the installation of 70 prepaid electricity metres.
The Namibian spoke to some business owners at Herero Mall.
Zet Tjiuuiju says the mall is one of the most unhygienic shopping complexes in the country.
“Can the mall at least be developed exactly like the Soweto market? We need it to look like a real mall, with restaurants, so that we can cut costs and not have to go to town,” he says.
Tjiuuiju, who co-owns a welding business with his brother, says they have not signed a lease agreement with the City of Windhoek.
One of the Herero Mall committee members says she has been operating her shebeen for over 15 years.
She says although she does not pay rent, she would not hesitate to sign a lease agreement if there was some development.
“I applied to get a liquor licence years ago, but did not get any response. We need to survive, so that does not stop me from doing business,” she says.
Tjiruriripo Mungunda (27), who sells kapana, says she doesn’t see the need to pay rent as she makes little profit.
“The money I make here is very little, and I use it to sustain my family,” she says.
Mbemumuna Kandjii says paying rent would not be an issue if the mall could be renovated.
Kandjii, who sells kapana at the mall, says the complex could even be a tourist attraction.
“This could be a place where foreigners come to buy local food and buy beer. I feel it’s very unfair to pay rent for a place that looks like this,” she says.
Johannes Shikomba says he has been operating at the mall as a shebeen owner for almost a decade without paying rent.
“After all these years they only want us to start paying now. I don’t mind paying, but all I want to know is where that money goes,” he says.