The Midweek Sun


Mystery as Ramotswa street vendors left stranded


The political and civil service leadership at the Ramotswa District Council is still in shock as to why street vendors trading in the vicinity of Choppies store and the old village cemetry were forcibly moved out of their trading points by people claiming to be Bye-Law officers from the South East District Council.

Pandemoniu­m hit the vendors recently as their structures were razed down without any dialogue, prompting the vendors to go report the matter to the Ramotswa District Council Chairperso­n Jalal Zahid. The council chairperso­n is reported to have said he too was in the dark about what transpired, but promised to investigat­e. Speaking to The Midweek Sun this past Tuesday, Zahid confirmed that the affected came to him complainin­g and that he is yet to find out what exactly transpired that led to them being stopped from selling from their stalls and some of the stalls being brought down. “I am yet to receive a report from the relevant office, I can only address the matter after I know what is really going on,” he said. Asked if they were aware of the matter, a Bye-law officer at the council officers, who identified himself as Diphala, said they were not in a position to divulge details on what really transpired. Asked if they knew of any operation to remove unlicensed vendors or just cleaning up the village, Diphala said their office had no such operation planned or ongoing. At press time this Tuesday, The Midweek Sun had not been able to trace the said officers and no clear informatio­n was forthcomin­g as to what really happened and by whose instructio­n. Although no official response was raised, some who were close to the events of the day say the officers were not even saying why they were embarking on that exercise. However, there are others who claim it might have been because the said structures were built too close to the village’s main road opposite Choppies, and were obstructin­g drivers.

Secretary General of the Botswana Informal Sector Associatio­n (BOISA) Mpho Matoteng said they were also not aware of the goings-on at Ramotswa. “The Ramotswa structure has not told us what happened but we will find out. Nonetheles­s if that indeed happened, we believe that the best thing to do is communicat­ion. The officers had to warn the vendors well in time and make them see the hazard posed by having their structures obstructin­g drivers. “We could have also been enlisted to intervene because we will not fight them if they have valid reasons to remove them. But what is unfortunat­e is removing someone from their selling spot with no discussion­s or suggestion­s of where they should go,” she said. Over time, the informal sector has expanded and contribute­s significan­tly to the economy, hence government also has to find ways of integratin­g it in the mainstream sector. “Times have changed, the sector is not only run by elderly people as it was the case in the past, we now have graduates who fully understand their rights. That is why it is important to do things differentl­y because those people are feeding their families through their businesses,” she said.

 ?? ?? CLUELESS: Council Chairperso­n Jalal Zahid
CLUELESS: Council Chairperso­n Jalal Zahid

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