Blantyre City Council confiscates containers worth millions
Blantyre City Council (BCC) has confiscated container shops worth millions of kwacha in an operation that started Monday night.
The containers are being taken from Limbe and Blantyre markets.
Over 20 businesspersons operating at Mibawa Bus Depot had a rude awakening yesterday morning following the confiscation of their containers by the council.
“When I came early in the morning, I was very surprised to see my container missing, only to be told the city council had confiscated it. It has come as a surprise because we were never told. I only remember last week some officials from the council came to remind us to renew business licences,” said Thokozani Mandiwa, who plies his trade near the bus depot.
Mandiwa said he started operating on the premises in 2001.
He said he sells cosmetics and values his business at K2.8 million.
He said he was not told that he was plying his trade on a land reportedly belonging to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
Mandiwa said the development would negatively impact businesses, especially those that thrive on loans.
“This will compromise the way we service our loans; we are asking the council to rescind its decision or come up with a way that will be beneficial to both of us,” he said.
Another trader, Richard Manda, argued that the traders were willing to relocate if the council gave them a notice.
He said the traders would come together and engage the council in dialogue.
However, Manda said, if dialogue fails, they may refer the issue to the courts.
“I came here when the premises were bushy. We helped in cultivating the land for the construction of a depot. We were told we could use part of the land to sell our merchandise. Now we are being told the land belongs to Escom. We are yet to be furnished with valid information,” he said.
Blantyre City Mayor Wild Ndipo said the operation is ongoing and its purpose is to make sure the city looks clean.
“The vendors were given designated places in Limbe and Blantyre and we have been telling them to vacate the restricted places. Even before the start of the operation, the vendors were duly informed,” he said.
Ndipo said the vendors will only be given their containers once they meet costs the council has incurred in removing the shops.
“The vendors must also take note that when the containers are given out, they should be planted in designated places only,” he said.
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