City Council allocates land to affected traders
Authorities of Juba City Council yesterday allocated land to the members of the business community whose shops were demolished from custom market
The breakthrough for the traders came nearly four months after some of them were displaced from their shops after the Juba City Council, headed by former Mayor Kalisto Lado, launched an exercise termed the reorganising markets of Juba City.
The exercise entailed the removal of structures built on the road reserves for expansion, transfer of roadside hawkers as well as shifting traders who sheltered on makeshift shops.
The roaring sounds of the bulldozer gripped the atmosphere of Juba City as Mr Lado relentlessly refused to bow to the critics of the exercise.
However, Kalisto’s exercise faced especially from the affected traders who accused his leadership of not giving them time or even allocating land to traders before demolishing their shops.
Before his removal last week, the former mayor had promised to allot pieces of land to traders affected by the demolition exercise within Juba town.
He nonetheless warned that the move should not be considered as compensation for the unlawful construction along with the road reserves.
“In the first place, there is no compensation for anybody who builds along the road, or for anybody who illegally occupies a piece of land that is not his or hers.”
“In our policy and our strategic plan, we are expanding the market and we are creating more markets for our traders. So, all our traders who lack shops or land for the construction of their shops will have pieces of land,” the former mayor told The City Review in October.
Kalisto was responding to the complaints raised by several traders who presented their petition to the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, demanding that the Juba City Council, compensates them for their property loss.
On Saturday, the leadership of the city council, headed by the two deputy mayors, went and identified the Juba University empty land that will be used temporarily to accommodate the affected traders.
“This country belongs to you, we will not allow our people suffer in our eyes and that is why we have taken the place from the investors that have rented from Juba University and now we are distributing to you,” Thiik Thiik Mayardit, the JCC Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure and Development said as he addressed the affected traders on Saturday.
“I have to tell [you] that from here, no one should go back to the roadside but if you still insisted that you will be still selling by the roadside, thinking that the mayor was removed that is where you will face it [rough].”
He said the former mayor was not working alone, arguing the reorganisation of the market was the city council’s project, which was implementable by anyone.
Thiik further said if the place at the university did not take all the traders then they would have some more space to provide.
He said they would ensure that all those who were affected got a space.
“So, feel free, you will now display your few belongings here, and we will come and clean it for you, measure for you and make for yourself a small shop so that you sell you goods,” he added.
Juba City deputy mayor for finance and planning, Solomon Pitia, appealed for the protection of the small-scale businesses, saying that most of the South Sudanese youth employed in such businesses are the ones paying for their school fees, and women also take care of the families in different ways.
He said the authorities are aware of the struggles that small-scale businesses are facing especially the youth who are students and graduates.
“This is what we call the small-scale retail business. Those big businesses started the way you people started, so if we start suffocating your small businesses like that, then how are we going to get those big ones in the future? Pitia asked.
“If we kill your businesses, then that means we are killing your future, and that is why we say, at least we have to get a place to accommodate you so that you can do your business without disturbance, ” Mr Pitia said.
He appealed to traders to cooperate with Juba City Council authorities by not selling on the roadsides, adding that they believe good understanding between them would help to avoid getting into more issues.
“We are going to divide this place temporarily for you and if there are some people who will not get, we will still get for them because we do not want someone to lose his or her business for not having space.
“Wow, it is still like a dream for me. It is still early for me to celebrate although I am cleaning this place here, my son you know South Sudan well they may even come and tell me that we do not want people on this site and I may not get another place since everyone has booked those places,” a 45-year businesswoman Nyuka Kenyi commented while cleaning her new plot.