Sunday, July 3, 2022

Francistown City Council takes traders to court

Francistown City Council (FCC) is seeking an eviction order from the High Court to expel over 60 traders at the historic Francistown Central Market.

FCC has commenced the eviction process and the matter will be filed before Francistown High Court on the 24th of June 2022 to seek an order which will be served to the traders once granted.

The announcement was made by Francistown Mayor Godisang Radisigo on Monday when briefing the full council meeting. Francistown Central Market forms part of the history of Francistown as it has been in existence for over 100 years.

The city council had initially warned and served the traders with a vacation notice through the Francistown Market Association on the 4th of February 2022 to vacate the premises. FCC is demanding the traders to leave the premises in order to give way for new developments. Radisigo said all developments will follow immediately after the eviction.

“The proposed development will immediately begin after the eviction starting with planning, design and other studies within the next four months. Groundbreaking will be in September 2022,” he told the full council meeting.

The city council has announced that with the growth of the city and demand for large scale commercial development, there has been some interests from the private developers to uplift the market and the core of the city being the Central Business District (CBD). A local company, Amasa Civils Pty (Ltd) was awarded a Ground Lease Agreement on the 23nd of April 2021 to re-develop the area.

Meanwhile the traders have also refused to vacate the premises demanding the city council to provide them with an alternative area where they can continue operating their businesses. They have also accused the city council of making unilateral decisions without consulting them. Most of the traders found at the Central Market include amongst others, tailors, technicians, agricultural produce sellers and food catering businesses.

On the other hand, FCC has since maintained its position that prior to signing a Ground Agreement with another contractor who failed the contract (Equality Properties Pty (Ltd) in 2004, the tenants were relocated to other council owned market stalls such as the Bus Rank, Airport, Somerset and other areas to give way to Equality Properties Pty Ltd to commence the re-development project. Upon termination of Equality Properties on 2018, council then realized that there were some tenants who occupied the market illegally.

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