The vendors at BBS flea market have vowed that they will not pay the arrears they are said to be owing to a company called Ultimate Packaging Industries until the Gaborone City Council (GCC) intervened.
This came after the new contractor made the vendors who are occupying the space at the flea market pay P10 every day.
The new arrangement has made the vendors uncomfortable since they now believe that the new contractor is taking all their profit.
Again their query is that the council has failed to introduce the new contractor to them after the then Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) left the running of the flea market.
Before, BOCCIM (now Business Botswana) was the one running the stalls at flea market and paying the council.
“There are around 230 vendors in this flea market and you can imagine how much the new contractor makes a day. That means he makes a profit more than us. Again he had promised us that he would develop the area so that we could sell even during rainy days, but he has failed to do so.”
“The surprising part is that the new contractor keeps on assuring us that he would call council officials so that we could raise our concerns with them, but he has failed to do so. We were surprised when two days back he gave us letters, which he claims that we owe him arrears. Our arrears do differ per individual,” chairperson of BBS flea market, Robert Letsatsi said.
Letsatsi admitted that some of them have agreed that they should not pay the new contractor his arrears until council resolves their issue.
He said they want the new contractor to be fired, so that council and vendors could have their
He continued: “We are divided in this flea market because of the new contractor. We used to be united and there was no crime because of our unity”.
One of the letters signed by one of the directors, Kabelo Ramaselwane reads, ”I am writing to advise you that it appears from our records that your rent is currently overdue as follows outstanding balance P880.00 as at December 23rd. I therefore kindly request that the outstanding balance be paid immediately and that you ensure that all future rental payments be made in full on the due date.
I take this opportunity to advise you that unpaid arrears could result in court action being taken against you. If the arrears are not cleared by January 31st you shall be evicted from the place of trade and an application could be made for possession of the property, for which you may also become liable for legal costs.”
However, GCC town clerk, Mpho Mathe said he is aware of the new company running BBS flea market stalls and the conflict between the vendors and the contractor. “We will arrange a meeting with the two parties to understand the issue clearly. Council has its own expectations from the contractor and we signed an agreement of two years.
The vendors are aware of the new contractor, it’s only that they have a dispute over the issue of payment. They could have negotiated the price and issues of arrears without making it a huge deal,” he said.