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F/Town vendors dare city council

LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
Street vendors stalls at Francistown Bus Rank PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Chairperson of the Central Market Association (CMA), Mogomotsi Moleele has revealed that they are not going anywhere until the local administrative council comes up with an alternative place for their relocation.

This comes after the Francistown City Council (FCC) issued a notice for all the vendors at the Francistown Central Market (FCM) place to vacate the area by May 31, 2021, so that they can pave way for the identified developer, Amasa Civils (Pty) Ltd. The company was granted a lease by the FCC to develop a new state-of-the-art building, which would match the modern construction techniques.

When Mmegi team visited FCM place earlier this week, it was business as usual although the vendors were given a warning to vacate the area. For years, the FCC has tried to relocate the informal traders without success.

Further, the same vendors spurned suggestions that they move to a place near the Francistown/Ramokgwebana border road on grounds that the area is crime-infested.  When seeking clarification as to why the vendors had not moved to pave way for new development, the association’s chair, Moleele told Mmegi they are not moving anytime soon. He added they are not relocating until the FCC assures them of their plans for the informal traders at the market.

He indicated that the FCC only issued a warning, but did not even suggest an alternative place for their businesses.

“This new development is not going to affect the 60 vendors, but has an impact on close to 200 workers at the site together with their families,” Moleele said. 

“Most of us are breadwinners and if we are told to go and look for alternative operation areas, we are all going to suffer.” According to the FCMA chairperson, due to the economic downfall caused by COVID-19, most Batswana have turned to the informal sector hence all of the

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marketable spaces are currently occupied.

He said if the FCC forces the entire informal sector to leave the area, most of the businesses will be doomed because they will not survive out there. Moleele pleaded with the FCC to at least find an alternative relocation site for the affected informal traders. He hoped that the upcoming meeting by local legislators, councillors together with the FCC, which will be held over the weekend will yield better results for the traders. When asked if they were aware that the informal traders have disobeyed their notice, Francistown town clerk, Lopang Pule replied that they would visit the site to check if the vendors are still operating at the marketplace.

He said their expectation is for the informal traders to have moved from the area as per the stipulated dates on the notice they were issued with.

Pule stated that for now they have given the leased contractor the go-ahead to start the development at plot 37177. “If the informal traders are still there they will be defying the notice and we will have to check on them and see what the reason behind resisting relocation [is],” Pule added.

He said after speaking with the affected vendors that is when they can take a decision on the matter. A source close to Amasa Civil (Pty) Ltd has disclosed to Mmegi that the same contractor is ready to move in and start the project.

The source indicated that the only delay is that they are still waiting for the dispute between the FCC and informal traders to be resolved amicably so that they can move in without any disturbance.



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