By Confidente Reporter
WINDHOEK car wash operators who were recently told to halt their businesses claim the city will now see an increase in unemployment, poverty and criminality should the municipality go ahead with its plan to close the car washes.
In their petition presented to the municipal council on Tuesday, the group objected to the closure of what they termed “lucrative business” claiming that they have created about 2 500 direct jobs on a scale of five people per car wash.
“These people are unskilled, semi-skilled and former criminals that were transformed as they could not find any jobs. They are therefore the down trodden in the communities,” reads the petition.
The decision by City of Windhoek to clamp down on the car wash businesses comes at the time of imminent water shortages and possible water restrictions in the central areas with inflow into dams remaining very low, necessitating water supply and use restrictions.
Car washes have been identified as some of the businesses that contribute heavily to water wastage as they use plenty of water daily.
The defiant business owners went on to say in the petition; “We have other industries in town that are using a lot of water compared to the car washes but the municipality is not threatening to close them. They told us to acquire pressure machines that save water we did that.
“Pressure machines cost around N$20 000 each and to construct a drain as required by municipality costs about N$7 000 because of the expertise needed to construct it.
“This exercise alone costs a car wash owner close to N$30 000 of which many members had to acquire loans to ensure that they are compliant to the city (rules)”.
They said that an agreement was than reached to allow members adequate time to comply but surprisingly a new directive reached them through the media that by January 24 all car washes that had not met the new and revised directives will be closed down, and all those in municipal land will be fined and equipment confiscated.
Statistics from the City of Windhoek show that there are about 300 car washes in Windhoek, with only about 20 of them registered and legal.
The car wash owners suggested that municipality should provide an alternative option for them should they go ahead with their plan to shut down their operations.
They also proposed that the municipality should grant them enough time to construct the required drains as per the standards set.
City police chief Abraham Kanime could not be reached for comment while text messages sent to his mobile were not responded to at the time of going to print.
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