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Fight for space at Lüderitz Crayfish Festival

Written by on April 30, 2024

Four traders at the Lüderitz Crayfish Festival have approached the Lüderitz Magistrate’s Court after claiming they have been denied space by the organisers.

A scuffle reportedly played out between the traders and one of the organisers, Victoria de Klerk, who has lodged a complaint of violence, threats of injury, property damage and the use of foul language.

The four traders have been identified by the court as Ronald Engelbrecht, Hendrina Willem, Magdalena Mekay, Maria Gumbo and Sodom Andreas.

They say the magistrate told them their case would be heard on Tuesday afternoon.

Trader Maria Dhliwayo says the traders have come from different towns to sell their products at the festival.

“This is for the same of our children, but yesterday she [De Klerk] allocated us to a place that is not part of the festival. We asked her why this has been done and she said, ‘no, you people do not have a place here and you must go to the parking’.

“We decided to move our gazebo to put it in front the waterfront, where other people are. We called her to hear our plan but she did not want to talk with us and she called security on us. The guards listened and when she saw that security did not do anything, she called the police. But the police asked us to go to court for the magistrate to hear our side.

“Since 08h30, we are here and nothing is happening. She even called a lawyer, and they talked and disappeared. The magistrate said she was alone in the office and would attend to us by 12h00,” says Dhliwayo.

The Namibian attempted to contact De Klerk, but she could not be reached.

A member of the festival management committee, Salom Ndevaokwa, declined to provide further details, but said they were dealing with the matter.

“We are dealing with it with the proper channels of law,” he said.


The festival – one of the biggest annual events at the port town – started on a bad note, with Lüderitz mayor Phillipus Balhao locking horns with the Lüderitz Crayfish Trust over funding.

“I fail to understand how, where, when, by whom and under which authority an agreement could have been reached between the Lüderitz Town Council and the Lüderitz Crayfish Trust for this private trust to take charge and responsibility of millions of Namibia dollars annually, failing to follow the procurement procedures set out in the Local Authorities Act,” Balhao said in a statement.

“I am the mayor and chairperson of the Lüderitz Town Council. I am not a member of the private Lüderitz Crayfish Trust and, therefore, have no legal standing over and within its structures. However, the Lüderitz Town Council is solely responsible for the annual quota allocation and funds annually derived from the sales of the annual fishing quota,” he added.

Namibian Sun has reported that the chairperson of the trust, Alex Gawanab, said the fisheries ministry issued the quota for the exclusive use of the festival trust and accused the mayor of “withholding” the funds deliberately.

“The money was to be transferred into the trust’s account for the sole purpose of organising and planning the festival but it has not been done.

The money is still in the council’s account. The mayor has taken it upon himself to detain the money as if it belongs to the council.

“The response by the mayor is inappropriate, and we would like to have a meeting with the council,” he said.

The festival is set to conclude on 5 May.

The post Fight for space at Lüderitz Crayfish Festival appeared first on The Namibian.

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