By: Hendrina Kanyolo
Small business owners operating at the Kingsway Plaza in town, which is owned by businesswoman Stina Wu, have been without water and electricity for five days due to unpaid municipal bills. The aggrieved business owners claim that the lack of services to the complex has hampered their ability to earn money during the most important period of the month. The complex situated in the Central Business District (CBD) in Windhoek houses various businesses such as salons, take-away and carwashes amongst others. Tenants were up in arms after the water was still not reconnected by Thursday. One of the hairdressers interviewed by TodayonOne said she lost out on N$1800 per day which would have been N$ 9 000 in five days. Hairdresser Johanna Abed stated that she is disappointed because this happened at the end of the month and is affecting their clients, whom they have to turn away. Abed and other tenants resorted to using a generator as an emergency power supply, but it stopped working when the petrol ran out. "I was trying to blow-dry (a customer's hair). We are using a generator but the petrol got finished at the time I was busy blow-drying my customer. So I have to wait for the guy to buy us petrol," stated Abed. Similarly, owner of Clean Kicks Namibia, Cleopas Malima added that his business has suffered despite paying N$25000 in rent to operate at the complex. Malima added that they always pay their rent on time, but their landlords appear to fail to pay their municipal bills. "For some odd reason, the landlord does not live up to their commitment of settling the water and electricity at the municipality. This has drastically affected our businesses. As you can hear the noises in the background, all businesses here are running on generators. We also have to bring water in to keep the businesses afloat. It is the worst time this can happen because it is approaching month end," said Malima who added that they have not yet received proper feedback from the landlord yet. Malima stated that they intend to sue for damages and urged other business owners to do the same. In addition, the chief executive officer of the Namibia hairdressers association, Pujesu Namundjebo, shared the same sentiments as the tenants. Namundjebo added that they cannot sit at home as they have rent to settle. He stated that the service cuts caught them off guard despite the tenants paying the landlord on time. The tenants also stated that they try to apply for business certificates at the City of Windhoek but are frequently turned down due to unpaid municipal bills. Attempts to get comments from businesswoman, Stina Wu and her business partner Chris Shivolo were futile.