Batswana selling their products at Borakanelo Flea Market at BBS Mall are crying unfair treatment, following the recent announcement by the City Council requesting them to pack their products and vacate the market.
On Wednesday afternoon, to the amusement of those selling in the market, police officers, together with City Council and BOCCIM representatives, stormed the market requesting traders to pack their staff and leave the market.
When the Sunday Standard arrived at the market, a lady, identified by hawkers as a representative from the City Council, said as far as she knew, they had not invited any media.
“So I will not answer any questions,” she said.
Tebogo Serurubele, a representative for those selling at the market, said what was being done to them was totally unfair. She stated that what they know is that although the market belongs to BOCCIM, BOCCIM only uses the market on weekends and during holidays, which they abide by and if they too want to use the market on those days, they pay.
She further said they long wrote to the Director of BOCCIM inquiring about the times.
“We wrote to the director on the 18th of May and, instead of getting a reply, we see a group of police officers storming the market and ordering us to pack up our products and leave,” she said.
She went on to say that they pay to sell their products at the market and all they need to know is whether they will get their money back.
“We were not even given a warning that today we do not have to be here, whereas when we have issues with them we consult them,” Serurubele said. Angry hawkers also hurled unhappy comments about their ill-treatment, calling it unfair as it was not very clear as to why they were being told to move.
“They do not know what they want from us that is why they are even running away when they see you media people,” shouted one of the ladies.
The flea market manager, O. Letebele, said as the market manager, his duty is to run the market and, if there is anything that’s not going on right, BOCCIM takes the whole responsibility.
“All I did in this case was send a list of names of those who have not paid to BOCCIM and its them who have the final say on what to do,” he said.
In an interview with Lefeletse Ketaleka, the Membership Services officer at BOCCIM, Ketaleka said that the place belongs to the council and they were just renting it.
He explained that most hawkers there did not have licenses to trade there and that they also leave the place dirty.
“The place belongs to the council and we as BOCCIM have rented to use it during weekends and holidays and, in most cases, those who go there during the week leave the place dirty and BBS complains to us as we are the ones renting the place,” he said.
He further said they held a meeting with the traders but it bore no fruit hence the need to remove the hawkers.
Another trader, who preferred anonymity, said they have since been given letters by the police, requesting them to come for a meeting on the 15th of this month concerning crimes in the area.
“We are not sure but it seems they think we are the ones causing the crimes and we are waiting to hear at the meeting what will transpire,” she said, adding that they went to parliament to seek help but the City Council representative could not be reached.