By William Madouk
Juba City Council has warned striking foreign traders not to stage any strike in the country and threaten to confiscate water tankers and indefinitely shut down shops for those traders who will defy the warning.
On Monday, city traders from the said communities closed their shops, saying they are protesting alleged multiple tax collections by Juba City Council and threatening to take their grievances to their respective embassies.
Yet water tank drivers yesterday morning went on strike and deserted the newly-installed water points in Juba after citing imposed numerous fees on them.
Speaking in a press conference yesterday, the Mayor of Juba City, Micheal Lado Allah-Jabu said if the traders’ strike continues city council would be forced to confiscate and shut down the shops of those striking traders.
“We in the local council have the powers stipulated by the local council Act 2009, we can confiscate those water tankers because they are the source of our service delivery, we can confiscate them and provide drivers,” Allah-Jabu said.
”Anyone who closes his shops let him close it completely – let it not be open again, you close it and we will put our lock on that,” he added
Juba city mayor said this occurred when they were carrying out their routine inspections to ensure the safety and health status of water tanks including the drivers.
Mayor Allah-Jabu decried that after entrusting some foreign traders with a water supply and other small-scale businesses they turn their back on them, adding that no South Sudanese have protested though they killed many in road accidents.
“We don’t intend to have a problem with any foreign community which is serving us hereby because it’s a normal process but when they [foreign traders] are upheld by the law they strike,” Allah-Jabu noted.
However, both Central Equatoria and Juba City Chamber of Commerce condemned the moves by foreign traders addressing their grievance adding that when those traders went on strike they did not formally inform them.
According to James Majok Mayor, the Inspector of the Urban Water Cooperation, the City Council was demanding the water suppliers pay fees for health, jackets, and boots, among others.
Inspector Majok revealed that the Urban Water Cooperation is charging each water tanker 3,000 SSP per trip.
The six water points installed by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency were opened last month yet water suppliers are still charging citizens high despite bringing water points to close destinations.
The facilities are situated in Mauna, Gudele, Munuki, Seventh Days, and Jebel residential areas and the major water point is the Nile riverside.