Used clothes vendors flood streets
BUSINESS MINDED: One of the street vendors

Second-hand clothes vending sites have suddenly mushroomed along most Francistown streets, near the bus rank.

Used clothes dealers used to operate in the city only during weekends at designated sites, but ever since the The Fifth Collection appear everything changed.

However, things have since changed with the number of vendors seemingly increasing by the day.

The used clothes, which include tracksuits, dresses, trousers and children’s wear are imported in large bales from Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania where they are shipped from European countries.

Some of the vending sites have become a nuisance to members of the public as vendors have literally blocked pavements and shops as they compete for scarce customers.

Car parking bays have also not been spared by the invasions.

Business has even attracted civil servants, who are supplementing their meagre salaries through vending.

Pauline Mlilo told Voice Money that she survives through buying and selling second-hand clothes from Mozambique.

“A bale of used clothes in Mozambique costs P500. After deducting all my expenses including transport, I gain a profit of P3 000 per bale,” said Mlilo who plies her trade along the ever busy Haskins Street in Francistown.

She sells her wares at a walking pavement, which is meant for pedestrian traffic getting into or out of the Francistown bus rank.

Her clients are mostly lower and middle class workers such as house maids, industrial workers and sometimes civil servants who cannot afford upmarket store prices.

“Established clothing stores are charging exorbitant prices. And most of the workers in Botswana these days cannot afford to buy from these established clothing stores,” she said in an interview.

Selinah Solomon, another informal trader says a number of young people have taken up the new business venture due to acute shortage of employment in the country.

“Some of us were being underpaid where we were working. So I decided to venture into this business,” she said.

Solomon says she buys her merchandise from Zambia. Since she started the business at the end of last year, life has not been the same, she said.

According to Solomon, she is now able to fend for her family.

Francistown City Council (FCC) spokesperson, Joseph Wasubera, confirmed that the council has realised a rise informal traders invading the streets of the country’s second city.

He said the council is still compiling the number of informal traders trading in used clothes.

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