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MCC, businesses clash over parking space

Tsepang Makhetha and Masoabi Ntlobo
MASERU — A storm is brewing between the Maseru City Council (MCC) and businesses operating at Mohloli Building along Kingsway Street.
Last month, the council issued a directive prohibiting the businesses from using a parking lot at the Basotho Hat insisting the area was reserved for tourists.
But the decision has angered businesses operating at Mohloli Building who had been using the parking lot at the Basotho Hat.
They accused the council of making key decisions without first consulting them.
MCC transport officer, Sekoai Morebotsane, said the decision to bar the businesses came after complaints that tourists were finding it difficult to secure parking at the Basotho Hat.
“The new regulations had to be enforced because people would park their cars anywhere even right in the middle of the road and simply put-up notices claiming ownership of the space,” said Morebotsane.
“At the Basotho Hat people would leave their vehicles in the car park and go about their business in the city and some would even leave the cars there the whole day.
“Now when tourists wanted something at the Basotho Hat there wouldn’t be any parking space.
“They would be left with no choice but to drive away because they would be afraid to ask for help.
“That was costing the city and the country a lot of revenue.”
He said the MCC had given enough parking bays to those operating from Mohloli Building.
Morebotsane said the council had received complaints of tourists being harassed by ‘street kids’ at the Basotho Hat.
“What was happening was that these entrepreneurs would ask street kids to wash their vehicles in the car park and the same street kids would also clean the tourists’ cars, even without having spoken with the owners.
“The street kids would harass the tourists for payment threatening them with all kinds of weapons if they happened to refuse to pay-up.
“This was giving the country a bad name,” Morebotsane said.
Morebotsane accused the complainants of “wanting things for free”.
“Some Basotho simply want things for free. There is a parking lot next to Victoria Hotel but few people want to take their cars there because they have to pay for them to leave their vehicles there.
“Instead people prefer parking in the open and in this case at the Basotho Hat where they can leave their cars all day without paying anything.”
Thuso Green, who owns Mohloli Building, told the Sunday Express that it appeared the MCC had a vendetta against him.
“I wonder if they have anything personal against me or the other Basotho who are renting space in this building.
“We are being accused of inconveniencing tourists. This is not true because they have always been visiting the place without any problems,” Green said.
A staffer at Quadrant Computer Technology, who requested anonymity, said they wanted the MCC to reconsider its new regulation as it was affecting their business.
“We were not consulted over the issue,” he said.
“A man from the MCC by the name of Morebotsane came last month and started surveying the car park without saying anything to anybody.
“He was quite rude when we asked him what was going on.
“He then left signs forbidding anyone from using the car park and would not give any satisfactory answers to our questions.
“We don’t want to fight with MCC.
“All we want is parking space for both ourselves and our clients.”
Quadrant Computer Technology is among a host of companies renting space at the building.

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