Some residents of Swakopmund are furious over the municipality’s decision to rent out the Northern Beach recreational facility.
The N$2,5-million facility, boasting a kiosk, ablution and shower facilities, lifesavers’ room, braai stands, and a fenced playground, is located next to Paddock Gardens close to Platz am Meer Mall.
The municipality recently announced on Facebook that all braai spots at the beachside facilities can be rented out daily at N$50 per spot.
The revenue collected will fund facility maintenance, it said.
Resident Rodhrick Losper on Facebook said he is concerned about double taxation, and suggested alternative solutions, such as employing security personnel to ensure cleanliness.
“Why is it always money, money, money?” Losper asked.
Joachim von Wietersheim, another resident, defended the decision, pointing out that maintaining the facility requires salaried employees, which necessitates fund generation.
Agnes Gurtle shared similar sentiments, saying: “We all want a salary and jobs . . . nothing is for nothing . . . the cost of living has risen.”
Fora Sithole proposed that the municipality negotiate a 50/50 deal with mall owners, to share the maintenance burden.
Sithole also advocated for seasonal pricing.
Municipality spokesperson Linda Mupupa, however, says the decision is vital for creating employment for young people.
“In light of the increasing population and youth unemployment at Swakopmund, the council decided to lease the Northern Beach recreational facility to a local youth to manage and maintain the area.
“Through this and other initiatives, the council commits to supporting micro and youth enterprises to create employment opportunities for themselves and others, particularly the youth who are hardest hit,” she says.
She says Swakopmund’s population has grown in recent years due to the influx of people, particularly the youth, from rural areas to urban centres, in search of employment and other opportunities.
“As a result of unemployment, young people are frustrated, demotivated and have lost hope to look forward to tomorrow,” Mupupa says.
She says the Swakopmund Youth Development Policy has focused on youth enterprises, education and training, business development, mentoring and incubation, as well as access to markets, and affordable, well-located business premises.
She says the chosen lessee would be responsible for the management and maintenance of the facility. “The use of the toilets will be free, however, the use of the showers will be charged at N$10 per use.
“The N$50 charge will be per braai stand per day, which will be used to purchase toilet paper, cleaning materials, and pay employees’ salaries,” she says.