The business community in Francistown is finding itself locked in between a rock and a hard place due to the ever escalating rental prices in the second city. The situation was worsened by the closure of mines in 2016. Last week during a forum held by business women in Francistown at Adansonia hotel, most business owners complained about ever increasing rentals from property owners and landlords. Since the closure of the mines a number of businesses have either shut down operations or relocated their businesses to Gaborone or Johannesburg in South Africa. Locals in the second city say they can no longer dream of owning their on boutiques or shops because paying rent is a lot more expensive than selling their products from car boots or their homes.
Gaone Molosiwa who owns Legistor Boutique says rent in Francistown is too high. She said all the profit they make from their business goes towards paying rent leaving little for the business to sustain itself.
“There is no business in Francistown anymore, I honestly can’t pinpoint to one thing and say that’s what is killing businesses in Francistown. However rent costs are devastating. I think maybe this is due to the fact that there are not many buildings in the city so there is no competition and building owners know that we have nowhere to go. I think one of the problems is that there is no body that regulates rent for property owners. Personally I will talk to my landlord, Dr Mompati not to increase rent this year,” she said.
Molosiwa said business in Francistown is generally slow as there is no buying power from their customers. She said they only make money during the last week of the month and the first three weeks are usually quiet. She also said as shops paying rentals, they are forced to compete with vendors who sell on the streets and it hinders some businesses because individuals who sell clothes from their car boots or houses are not regulated either.