At a time when living in the city is a do or die affair, worse still for the unemployed, many have found not so legal means to make fast and easy money.
The city of Gaborone has, over the recent months, seen a significant increase in the number of second hand tyre dealers who have illegally setup shop by the roadsides in and around the city.
Though many of the “shops” visited by this reporter sold tyres that are not roadworthy and should have been at the dumping site, lest they cause serious injuries or even deaths from bursts, so popular are these roadside tyre services that even foreigners are taking part in this illegal service provision.
This has not gone down well with authorities from the Gaborone City Council who have threatened to take stiffer measures against perpetrators.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Kabelo Tebele, Chief By-law Enforcement Technician at Gaborone City Council (GCC), said his office is concerned about the alarming rate at which these establishments are springing up and they are working round the clock to keep these illegal traders off the roadsides.
“We are always rounding up these people and confiscating their tools and tyres, some of which are so bad we take them straight to the dumping site, retaining only those we see may still last a few hundred kilometres until they pay a fine of between P100 and P200 as well as clean up the areas from where they operate; but no sooner than we return their equipment are they back at a different location, some even go back to the same spots,” Tebele revealed.
“We cannot condone this kind of behaviour and have on many occasions tried to advise them to speak with garage owners to allow them to operate from within their premises but it seems our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. This has prompted us to consider prosecution and increasing fines.”
But the second hand tyre business is a big industry and it is a bargain, especially in these difficult times that many motorists find themselves in.
Twenty-four year Mmoloki Diforaga from Maboane Village makes his living by patching and selling used tyres by the side of the road in Mogoditshane.
A former butchery employee who used to earn P700 per month, Mooloki says he now makes between P3000 and P5000 a month selling second hand tyres that he buys from Central Transport Organisation as well as from Japanese car dealers then sells them to the public at a profit.
He says as yet he has not been troubled by the authorities and doesn’t see any reason why they should as he believes his business is legit.
“When a customer comes to buy from us, we ask them to choose for themselves from a wide variety of tyres hence there is no way we can cheat them.”
Starting the business was easy as all that is required is a Generator, compressor, a jack, spanners and tyre levers. All of these can be acquired at a cost of around six thousand pula.