Molline Gagare Business Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has admitted there is pressure from scores of vendors seeking proper vending sites ahead of the Friday deadline for them to operate from designated places.
Close to 2,000 vendors who are on the council’s waiting list met the city Mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo and his deputy Gift Banda yesterday, demanding proper trading space.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in collaboration with the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development set June 26 as the deadline for restoring order in the cities.
The move followed concerns that illegal vendors were flooding the city centres, especially in Bulawayo and Harare, to the extent of blocking pavements, traffic intersections and causing disorder in front of offices.
Clr Moyo told vendors who gathered at the Large City Hall that the local authority does not have the capacity to immediately avail 2,000 vending bays at once.
“It’s not practical to allocate more than 2,000 vendors within a period of less than one month. The process involves many technicalities and personnel,” said Clr Moyo. “Proper vending sites need to be identified, portioned and marked. The logical conclusion would be to appeal to the relevant ministries for more time so as to allocate vendors in an orderly manner.”
Concerned vendors who attended the meeting wanted to know what will happen to them come Saturday if council fails to allocate them new sites.
“Honourable Mayor, since morning we’ve been talking about the allocation of vending bays. Where exactly are those bays? We’ve not heard you or your councillors saying you’re going to allocate 200 vendors to any new site or 100 vendors to another site to show that you’re making progress,” said one vendor.
In response, Clr Moyo assured the vendors that as long as they are registered or they produce licences when asked to do so, they will not be evicted from their operational bases.
“Council will negotiate with government to give us a little more time so as to accommodate everyone. As long as your place of operation is clean and orderly and you produce your licence you’ll not be evicted from your place,” he said.
Last month Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo and his Small to Medium Enterprises counterpart, Sithembiso Nyoni as well as Environment, Water and Climate Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, issued an ultimatum to all illegal vendors to go and work from designated points.