Tenants at the popular Francistown Central Market Place have been given a month to vacate the historic informal business area.
In a letter written by Deputy Town Clerk-Finance Lawrence Mazinyane, vendors have been given a one month vacation notice of the stalls from the 29th April to 31st May.
According to the letter, all tenants will bear the costs of removing their belongings.
Tenants are further instructed to disconnect all the utilities and services from their respective stalls and clear all accrued bills that may be outstanding.
“You’re also informed that the development of the place entails demolishing existing structures at any time from the lapse of your notice, and any belonging not removed from the stalls will not be salvaged,” warns Mazinyane.
According to Mazinyane this exercise was necessitated by the growth of the city and demand for large scale commercial development, and interest from private developers to uplift the seemingly threadbare looking market to uplift it and the core of the Central Business District.
“The envisioned re-development of the market took a positive leap when the city of Francistown and Amasa Civils (Pty) Ltd embarked on signing a ground lease agreement of the the subject plot on 23rd April 2021,” stated Mazinyane.
The Deputy Town Clerk further stated that following the signing of the lease agreement, the next phase is to hand over Plot 37177 to Amasa Civils.
In an interview with The Voice on Wednesday, The Francistown Market Association Chairperson Oduetse Mogomotsi Moleele said the move by council is an immoral one.
In an emotional interview, Moleele said it is immoral of the City Council to want to dump over 60 people without making any other alternative arrangements fro them.
“We knew this was coming, but our only question has always been, where do we go from here?” said Moleele.
“This is the busiest market place in the city, a lot of government employees eat here, bring their electronics for repair here and buy their grains and vegetables here. It is a livelihood for hundreds of people. You cant just chase people away, its unheard of,” charged Moleele, who added that he also wonders who the envisaged developments will benefit.
Tenants at the plot have been at loggerheads with the City Council for some years as the proposed face-lift to the city encroached on the informal sector.
“Remember council disconnected water three years ago and we found a way of surviving. We connected our own electricity and our businesses were thriving,” said Moleele.
“We’re not refusing to leave, all we ask for is for the council to give us an alternative where our customers can continue to access services,” he said.
At the time of going to print vendors were planning a meeting where the contents of the letter were to be discussed and a resolution taken.