Vendors cry foul at Botswana Games

UP IN ARMS: Vendors at Francistown Sports Complex. PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
UP IN ARMS: Vendors at Francistown Sports Complex. PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG

FRANCISTOWN: Street vendors cried foul over loss of business at last week’s just-ended Botswana Games.

In an interview with Monitor Business last Friday, the frustrated street vendors said they were left in the lurch at their designated stalls after some vendors masquerading as spectators snuck their wares into the stadium to sell to potential customers.

It was reported that some street vendors ended up closing down their stalls after operating for a few days due to loss of business. The street vendors had paid money ranging between P100 to P250 in order to get permits to sell their goods inside the stadium.

Tshegofatso Dabilo, 27, a street vendor was frustrated by the games as she had anticipated better business, but was disappointed by the low turn up of customers at her stall.

She stated that last Thursday she decided to follow her customers at the stands where to her surprise she found some spectators with cooler boxes and huge bags selling drinks, ice pop, snacks to mention but a few.

“That is not fair at all because we paid to be given access to sell inside the stadium whilst some people blocked our customers from buying from us. Despite our numerous complaints no action has been taken to date,” said Dabilo.

Dabilo said when they got the permits, they were promised enough security to control and monitor the selling of goods inside the stadium, but that was not the case.

“There were lots of customers and if we had enough security we could have made enough profit,” said Dabilo.

Solomon Lufu 36 also echoed Dabilo’s sentiments of loss of business to the masquerading ‘spectators’ accusing them of cutting them out of their business.  He said that the vendors could be making profit if only licensed individuals were the only ones selling inside the stadium.

“We have paid money to be allowed to sell here, but some unauthorised people are selling their goods inside and are currently making better profit than us,” said Lufu, blaming the organising committee for poor monitoring of their businesses.

Lufu raised a concern over congestion of vendors by the stadium’s parking hence resulting in too much competition over limited customers after some vendors were moved from the grand stand where they used to operate their business due to poor business.

Ethel Tapela, 29, and Emily Ncube, 34, operating a stall outside the stadium also had similar concerns over poor business pointing out that as compared to the first two days customers no longer visit their stall.

The duo said they have not benefited at the games like they had anticipated.

Reached for a comment, the Botswana Games local organising committee chairperson, Bobby Gaseitsiwe said that he was not aware of some spectators accused of selling goods without licences because he has not yet received any report from vendors.

“We have only given permits to 16 street vendors to sell inside the stadium and have allowed those without permits to put their stall outside the stadium premises,” said Gaseitsewe.

He rather said the idea was for all citizens to benefit from the games, but selling inside without a licence was not allowed and they had security guards patrolling to make sure that never happened.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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