By ANDREW MUKOMA
THE former traders at Zimbabwe Market in Livingstone, who were relocated to pave way for the construction of a modern market, are likely to lose out unless they can afford the new market fees.
Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale says only those with the capacity to pay rentals will be occupants.
This could leave many of the former occupants at the Zimbabwe Market in only admiring the modern structure being built on the site once it was completed because.
Dr Hamukale said the modern market and the international bus terminus would house businesses with commercial interests.
He was speaking in Livingstone on Monday afternoon when he toured the two infrastructures projects whose completion works were being done by the Zambia National Service (ZNS).
Dr Hamukale said the money being used to put up the two structures was from the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and it was expected to be recovered through rentals to be collected from the two properties.
“And so, this is not a charity work where people will come with lists of occupants. Already I am under pressure, people are writing names of who should occupy this stand and so on,” Dr Hamukale said.
“As far as I am concerned, we do not have any list of who will occupy this market and that we are not going to entertain because we are looking for people that have the capacity to pay back,” he said.
He said there was need to support NAPSA because the institution had supported the people of Zambia.
Dr Hamukale said the only way to ensure NAPSA recovered its investment was to give it tenants with the capacity to pay the rent.
“It’s not charity, not a question of because we were displaced and we will take first slots. So if you were displaced and you have the capacity to pay back then that’s fine, we have no problem with that,” he said.
“I am here to say that we do not have any list of would be occupants. If it is there then we will not recognise it because the project is not even handed over,” the minister said.
Dr Hamukale said the provincial administration was not aware of any meeting where people sat and agreed on how the stands at the market would be allocated.
He advised people to stop speculating about the non-existent list of former Zimbabwe Market occupants.
“This is a business model with commercial interest and it shall remain so,” he said.
But according to sources at the Livingstone City Council, only those who were occupants at the then Zimbabwe Market traders would be accommodated at the new market.