MOBILE SPAZA PHONE OPERATORS CLASH WITH MBABANE CITY COUNCIL
Mobile spaza phone operators selling on the street have found themselves in conflict with Swaziland’s Mbanane City Council. They were selling atr a bus rank but have been prohibited from doing so by a development about to take place on the site.
According to Sifiso Simelane who runs one of the mobile spazas the conditions under which they have to operate makes it difficult for them to run the business successfully. The business is an initiative that was introduced last year known as The One Franchise Opportunity (TOFO) whereby MTN supplies units for business purposes at a specific charge. Simelane stated that as a result of the situation at the bus rank about three of his colleagues have withdrawn from this kind of business.
He explained that initially he was operating at the bus rank in Mbabane where there was a huge demand for the service. However the City Council ordered them not operate at the bus rank but at specific streets chosen by the Council around the town. "This affected not only me but also other similar businesses because we do not make much money from the streets hence the business had appeared to be worthless," he said.
Simelane is currently operating at Gwamile street whereby he says operating successfully is not possible particularly because along the same street is a supermarket that operates the spaza business and Swazi Telecomms lines have since been placed in the same street.
Apparently the bus rank space had been bought and reserved for the construction of a shopping complex. However no complex has yet been set up.