BK: What do you sell at JJ market?
Anne: I have been selling house decorations and lamps for 10 years.
BK: How much do you pay per month for rent?
Anne: I’ve got two stalls, the one on the inside is B35,000 and the one outside is B40,000 per month.
BK: Is there a middle man you have to go through?
Anne: The middle man here would be the actual owner of the rooms. They have to pay their rent to the BMA and most of them allow others to rent out their spaces. For instance, I’m renting my two rooms from someone else, so the rent I pay is up to the actual owner.
BK: Are there any mafia-style gangs involved at the market?
Anne: There isn’t any actual mafia that I know of, but many middle men are like the mafia. Each owner is allowed to have two rooms at the market, but most cut corners by having their family members buy out additional rooms. One owner could own as many rooms as they want and can charge any amount on rent. It’s the vendors who suffer.
BK: How do you feel now that the SRT will be running things?
Anne: I feel good because the BMA doesn’t place much importance on the vendors. They would often make new rules involving vendors having to pay more each year. For instance, they made a rule stating that vendors selling in the areas outside had to pay additional rent because there are more people there.
BK: How do other tenants you know feel about this?
Anne: They feel the same way that I do. We feel that the BMA has been taking advantage of us. They always tried to cut corners and collect more money when they can, and even then they still owe money to the SRT. It raises the question, where did all the money go?
BK: What are some of the biggest problems you and other tenants have in common?
Anne: Right now the biggest problem is selling our products. During the protests and the flood, JJ was like a ghost town, there was hardly anyone there.
BK: What is your biggest concern now that the SRT is in charge?
Anne: What the SRT team will be like. For now, we don’t know anything about them. We don’t know how long they will let vendors rent rooms; we don’t know if they will be stricter or more flexible.
BK: What do you want the SRT to change most about JJ?
Anne: I want them to allow vendors renting spaces to become the actual owners. If their contract ends, they won’t be able to sell things at the market anymore. It’s something we’re all worried about.
BK: Who would you have running the market the SRT or the BMA?
Anne: Even though I don’t know how the SRT will run things, they own the place and I’m sure they’ll do a better job than the BMA. I would definitely go for the SRT.