Street vendors made a dash when they saw the police – many are illegal immigrants

Several street hawkers in Swakopmund, who were operating on various street corners and pavements especially in Mondesa, have abandoned their business establishments over the past two weeks. This follows after the Namibian Police carried out an anti-crime operation during which many of the hawkers were arrested for various alleged crimes.
It was understood many of the hawkers are allegedly illegal immigrants and/or carry out business activities without valid local authority permits.
Most of these people have been operating for many years without any interference by either the Council or the police. These residents would usually set up their small businesses anywhere on a pavement without permission from Council – that is over now and they can no longer go back to their establishments. An official from the Swakopmund municipality confirmed to namib times this week all street hawkers were operating illegally and had no right to be there. Nampol Regional Commander Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu confirmed to the media this week that an anti-crime operation was carried out by the police. “We carried out a general operation about two weeks ago. We did not specifically target street hawkers, but we were looking at all criminal activities around Swakopmund. It is clear that some street hawkers were approached by police officers and out of fear most of them ran away”, Nelumbo explained. He added that many of them were arrested because they were illegal immigrants.
Nelumbu however could not reveal the number of illegal immigrants who were arrested. He said most of the illegal immigrants arrested were street hawkers as they make a living selling various imported goods.
A source who witnessed the operation said to the newspaper: “We just saw police officers stopping at a business establishment and the officers demanded to see the person’s identification document. The next thing we saw was the guy being arrested. Another street hawker whose stand was next door just ran away and he has not returned since. He didn’t even take his goods along. We do not know what is going on”.

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