Council Raids Leave Food Vendors In Limbo!


  • Vendors prohibited from using open fire to cook in public places
  • They are also required to have catering licenses
  • Council says the decision is for safety measures
  • Council enforcing hawking, street bye law and public health act

The North West District Council’s by-law officers alongside the police recently launched raids on food vendors in Maun to enforce the Hawking and street by law and public health act which prohibits the use of open fire to cook in public places.

The vendors are also required to have catering licences to be able to sell food in public areas.

The decision has since sparked an uproar among the informal traders as beside having suffered losses, some were slapped with heavy fines, as the majority were used to cooking on site using gas and firewood.

Confirming the developments NWDC by Law Superintendent Phemelo Matome explained that they have not stopped the street vendors from selling food, but instead stopped the use of gas and firewood in public areas as a safety measure for lives and property in the event of fire out-breaks.

He said the decision came after they realised that Maun Old Mall was crowded with vendors selling food, and that there was no order, which was a recipe for disaster in case of emergencies. The situation gets even worse at night when vendors all converge in one area to sell food to night crawlers by the Club.

 He explained that the requirement is for vendors to cook food from home and bring ready cooked to their stalls to sell.

“One is also required to have a catering license in order for them to sell food in a public area,” he added.

The superintendent said notices were given to the vendors before the actual deadline but some did not oblige and continued with the use gas and firewood in public areas, leaving council with no choice but to take action.

He revealed that those who were charged P1000 each, actually were warned twice and still continued with the practice.

The disgruntled vendors have since decried that the decision has abruptly affected their source of income and at odds to continue with their businesses. Some of these vendors earn a living by selling at night outside bars and the night club, and the kind of food they sell necessitate that they cook them on the spot.

One of the frustrated vendors, Mofaya Johane narrated that on Monday by-law officers raided him ordering that he take his food and leave the public area. He noted at that time had just started to cook but the officers could not take any excuse.

Johane lamented that he made a huge loss on that day as he had to take away all his food that was half cooked. He indicated that the small business is his only source of income that helps him take care of his children and parents who solely rely on him for survival.

He argued as a measure of safety, they have ensured that the area where they cook their food is well built and is always cleared and cleaned adding that they cook where vehicles do not park for safety measures.

Another vendor who chose to remain anonymous, and whose business is located at the Maun bus rank said she was told to cook at home then bring the food to sell regardless of her owning a catering license. She however complained that this would affect her business as she sells fried chips which customers prefer sold hot. She added that they were also instructed to use foldable plastic tables instead of wooden ones which they says are very expensive and not strong enough to sustain their goods.

Meanwhile some have posited that the council is using the strategy to reduce congestion in the mall, since it feared relocating all the vendors for a fear of a political backlash.


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