Business people and vendors around the Gaborone Bus Rank have raised concern about plans by JTTM Properties to demolish the railway pedestrian bridge which joins the Gaborone Bus Rank and the railway station on the other side.
“This anticipated development is not welcome; this will remove bread from the tables of all the business people around this bus rank,” said Jackson Katukula, a representative of the business people at the Bus Rank.
Katukula has a catering business at the Gaborone Hotel and he says the demolition of this bridge will affect his business.
He said the City Council officers have informed them that JTTM Properties are planning to build another bridge to divert pedestrians to land in the new shopping mall which is currently under construction behind Gaborone Hotel.
“We are not against the idea of the private developers to have an additional bridge to give option to pedestrians to go to the new mall, but please leave the old bridge intact,” Katukula said.
He said this will not be fair to the low income masses to be forced to walk an extra half a kilometer.
“People who just want to catch the buses without need of shopping should not be forced to walk additional distance of half a kilometer,” he said.
Katukula said the current market value of this steel bridge is more than P8 million, and the intended demolition just to benefit a few investors, will be a pure waste of public funds spent by either Botswana Railways or the City Council.
“It’s not true that the steel bridge has outlived its lifespan,” Katukula said. “There are bridges all over the world that have lived for more than 100 years; the only thing that is required is maintenance.”
This existing bridge and its angle were made to help people cross the railway line as well as reducing the walking distance to and from the bus rank.
“It’s true that we are planning to demolish the bridge. We are waiting for the City Council to give us the go ahead,” said a representative of JTTM Properties who refused to be named. “There are no selfish interests in doing this. In fact, are we doing this in the interest of the public. The bridge has outlived its life span; already it’s shaking.”