Apart from unreliable rates offered, trading currency in the black market exposes the customer to various risks, including being robbed or worse being given fake money. At the Gaborone bus terminal where the business of illegal trading of currency seems to be the most prominent business, a group of ladies are always shouting to passerby marketing their trade.
Despite several attempts by the police to charge those practicing the business, people are said to be still engaging the services of the unlicensed bureau de change operators to obtain, sell or buy foreign currency. The station commander for Borakanelo Police station which oversees the Gaborone Bus Rank, Modise Gabatshwane said both parties, the seller and the buyer, can be charged with unlawful transaction of currency if arrested.
He said as the police they have made numerous attempts to conduct public education on the dangers of carrying transactions on the streets, adding that such another such exercise took place recently. Gabatshwane issued a warning that people should stop the habit of exchanging currency with unlicensed traders as it exposes them to a number of risks. He said people can be robbed or given fake money only to notice later, saying in most cases it is difficult for the victims to identify those who robbed them.
Gabatshwane said it appears their efforts are not being taken seriously as measured by the cases they register. Apart from the mentioned hazards, people are also exposed to unreliable exchange rates. One woman at the bus rank offered to trade R100 for P75 while another one approached offered P77 for the same foreign amount.
The existence of currency black markets is said to be influenced by various reasons, according to reports. Among them include strict currency controls that limit the amount of foreign currency available for residents and a fixed exchange rate regime where domestic currency is pegged at an unrealistically high exchange rate to the US Dollar or another global currency.