All hardware traders in Molepolole are facing relocation from their trading places, as the Town and Country Planning Act of Botswana indicates that they are on a wrong location in terms of land use.
This was confirmed by Assistant Minister of Local government, Maxwell Motowane, who noted that according to the act and Molepolole physical development plan, the hardware traders are on a wrong location and should relocate to alternative premises.
“I must admit that my Ministry has received a number of complaints from the traders who were given a 12-month period to relocate to the industrial area to operate their hardware shops,” Motowane told the Sunday Standard in an interview. “In the light of foregoing, my Ministry, through Kweneng District Council, resolved that starting 2011, all industrial hardware traders who have industrial plots should be given two and half years to relocate to the industrial area instead of the initial period of 12 months.”
Motowane said this was done to give traders a reasonable time to relocate to alternative premises in the appropriate land use.
The manager of Molepolole Builders World hardware, Nars Hussain, said government should at least compensate them for relocation because they are not squatters and they have spent more than P8 million in establishing at the current trading place.
He said other big companies such as Cash build, Choppies, Taj, Maxi Save have also spent millions of pula in building offices, warehouses and other storage facilities.
Hussain said the relocation of hardware outlets could result in closure of some businesses, as the industrial site designated as their legal trading area is located in an area not conducive for business.
“The area is not yet developed for business operations; it has no electricity, there is no guarantee of security and our customers could be scared to visit the area for shopping. There are high chances that the relocation could result with closure of a majority of hardware shops and this would result in unemployment and increased poverty in Molepolole.”
He accused government, saying through the legislation, it is making business difficult without thinking about implications which could have a negative impact on the economy of Molepolole.
Meanwhile, Motowane made it clear that government will not suspend the relocation and it cannot compensate the hardware traders for the costs of moving to a new trading place, designated as an industrial site.
“The relocation is done to correct land use, so we cannot compensate the hardware traders.”
The Ministry of Local Government uses the Town and Country Planning Act to govern planning and development in places declared as planning areas.
Molepolole was declared a planning area in 1995.