Tension rising in Monarch over illegally parked trucks
Tension is simmering between Monarch residents and the owner of over 20 trucks parked at Engen Filling Station in Francistown.
A recent near fatal car accident has stoked a fire that threatens to consume one of the city’s populous locations.
The owner of the imposing fleet, Joseph Machinya of Machinya Trucking, was given 21 days to remove his trucks, trailers and all other machinery from the roadside.
He has until today (Thursday 13 February) to comply with the Land Tribunal order or face seeing his vehicles forcibly removed.
However, the young entrepreneur revealed he intends to appeal to the High Court.
“We’ve been given eight weeks to appeal the order, and we are going to appeal,” Machinya told The Voice, before arranging to meet up for an in-depth interview on Friday.
According to Francistown City Council Town Clerk, Lopang Pule, Machinya was also ordered to restore the site to its original state.
“He has to rehabilitate the soil, because a lot of oil has seeped through the ground,” explained Pule.
The Town Clerk, who acknowledged there are similar cases dotted around the city, said Machinya was served with an enforcement notice last year but did not comply and instead chose to appeal the notice.
“He was taken to the Land Tribunal which ruled in favour of the council. It has to be clear that what he’s doing is an illegal undertaking. He has to remove the trucks or face forcible removal at his own cost.”
The newly elected Monarch North Councillor, Gopolang Scara Almando told The Voice residents have long complained about the trucks that hug the entire shoulder of the road around the filling station.
“The area has become a danger to motorists whose view is blocked by the imposing trucks,” stressed Almando, who admitted tempers in the location were becoming increasingly heated.
“There’s word on the streets that some people are threatening to set the trucks on fire if they’re not moved! The community is angry and will express their anger by destroying those trucks. This is a ticking time bomb,” he warned.
“At least five motor vehicle accidents have been reported thus far. We’ve never had accidents at the filling station before, it’s simply because motorists’ views are seriously compromised,” added Almando, who called for calm in Monarch.
“We are not a violent society. I urge young people to exercise restraint until the city leadership visits the area!”
Echoing the councillor’s pleas for restraint, Pule urged residents to let the law take its course.
“Look he [Machinya] can still appeal to the High Court, because one of the reasons he gave was that he’s a young businessman with no land to park his many trucks. This is a matter we’re dealing with. It would be unfortunate should residents of Monarch decide to go the violent route; we should do everything within the confines of the law!” the Town Clerk reiterated.