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Why vendors flock to Kingsway streets on weekends

By ‘Mamohaila Rampo


As one of the busiest streets in Maseru, Kingsway Street has a totally different atmosphere when one visits the town on weekdays compared to weekends.

It turns out that illegal traders flood the streets on weekends because the Maseru City Council (MCC) Inspectors do not report to work. Reports echo that during the week, vendors are chased away by the MCC Inspectors.

Only vendors that have trade licenses are allowed to sell freely in their allocated places. However, illegal Vendors take advantage of the situation on Saturdays and Sundays to sell without licenses.

Fruits seller, ‘Marethabile Mofokeng said the lack of space for street vendors to sell their products compels them to find an operation space of their own and work from those areas which are not entitled to market use.

They attribute this to the fact that those authorized to award them with space, particularly the MCC, fail to do so on time and therefore they have no choice but to find space individually in order to be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

Mofokeng sobbed that MCC makes her life miserable because she spends most of her time running from inspectors than selling. When addressing the issue of cleanliness of the town, which the MCC decries, she said she makes it her priory to remove plastics around her stall all the time.

 Mofokeng said her worst encounter with MCC was when an entire box of bananas was taken from her as a punishment for trading illegally.

She confirmed that stopping illegal trading for her is not an option because at the end of the day her family depends on her for survival. She said it is a real shame that other vendors do not clean around their stalls

Curtain seller, Seabata Mosuoane does not understand why they cannot sell anywhere they want. He said MCC officials use pepper spray on them and take whatever they are selling if they catch them in action selling at an illegal place.

“We should not be hindered to sell anywhere in Maseru,  there are people whose responsibility is to clean the town so they should always make sure that the town is clean, including places where we sell,” said Mosuoane.

One of the chain Stores Managers along Kingsway Road who preferred to be anonymous said they are not bothered by crowds of vendors in front of their shops because they too are trying to provide for their families. He said even though they are selling illegally, it is for a good cause.

Conducted for opinion, MCC Assistant Public Relations Officer (PRO) Khotso Makamo confirmed that “the Central Business District (CBD) is getting smaller to accommodate all vendors but then again it is still against the law to operate without a licence”. He said the MCC will take even harder measures to control the stampede of vendors that sell during weekends, Makamo revealed that very soon they will start working in shifts, saying that will enable inspectors to parade the streets daily. He also added that; “Once an illegal trader is caught red handed, they (MCC) are entitled to whatever they are selling because it is against the law”.