Gaborone City Council has evicted vendors from its stalls around the city for failure to pay their monthly rents. The most affected area has been the Gaborone bus station where 22 out of 40 stalls have been closed.
The eviction has since been confirmed by the GCC Public Relations Officer, Seeletso Lekgaba, who defended the action saying it they swung into action after all efforts to get the vendors to pay failed.
“We have persuaded and even threatened them that they should pay their rentals but all that has failed and the Council then resolved that those who have not paid should be evicted and that is what we have done,” Lekgaba said.
The eviction has been received with mixed feelings from members of the public and other vendors with some sympathetic whilst others said the vendors deserved what they got.
Lesego Kube, who sells from the pavements in front of one of the closed the stalls says that those who were evicted only have themselves to blame because they have failed to do what is expected of them.
“They were lucky to have got the stalls in the first place whilst some of us are selling on the streets. They should pay or else get out and let others like me who are prepared to pay rent sell from the stalls,” she said.
Another street vendor, Tshepho Bosigo, said those who have been evicted were very selfish people who were making a lot of money selling from the stalls but were not prepared to pay their rent.
“GCC should not be blamed for having evicted them, they deserve it and I see them as selfish people who want to keep all the money for themselves whilst the owner of the place they are operating from gets nothing,” she said.
Even worse, Tshepho says, is the fact that some of them, rather than running businesses themselves, are instead renting them out to people and illegally making profit.
But another vendor, Frank Bakani, feels that the Council had been very cruel and should have taught the vendors the importance of paying rent rather than evicting them in these times when jobs are difficult to come by.
“I think this was a cruel act. The council should have found a better way of handling the situation,” he said.