Lumbidzani Dima, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO informal traders associations have pledged to start cleaning the city every Friday until it regains its status of being one of the cleanest cities in the world.
The clean-up exercise will start today near Egodini.
In 2018, President Mnangagwa declared every first Friday of the month as a national clean-up campaign day.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the associations raised several issues that triggered their decision to conduct the clean-up exercise.
The chairperson of the working group of informal traders associations, Mr Dumisani Ncube said the decision to conduct weekly clean-up campaigns was necessitated by a sense of ownership of the city.
“As part of concerned stakeholders we considered conducting these clean-ups due to a sense of ownership. Bulawayo is our city and we have to keep it clean. If we do these weekly clean-ups, it will make things easier for Government departments and local authorities. We want Bulawayo to completely change to an extent that people will forget that the city once lost its cleanliness glory,” he said.
Mr Ncube commended plans by city fathers to fine and arrest litterbugs.
“Bulawayo City Council (BCC)’s plan to fine litterbugs is very good, because it’s what we have been advocating for. We appreciate that they are following what we have been suggesting for the past 5-8 years. We hope it will not remain a plan that will never get implemented,” he said.
Mr Ncube said they want to place a tent at Egodini vending bays for litter bugs to pay a fine that can be used for the development of the area or something productive.
The associations said they have conducted clean-ups before, but the local authority always turns them down whenever they suggest something that might be of great help.
Mr Ncube said they want to fence a small portion of the area for garbage dumping to make things easier for the city council when it comes to collect the litter.
“We have been fighting for a fenced area at each and every vending site, designed for dumping refuse so that it’s not all over the place, before the city council collects it. It will actually make things easier for BCC as it will reduce the workload,” he said.
Bulawayo Upcoming Traders Association (Bupta) chairman, Mr Vincent Donga said they had an agreement with BCC to erect garbage holding points which saw them buying a fence as informal traders but it’s still lying idle.
“Vendors are now complaining that the committee has used their money for something else. The initial plan was to have litter placed in refuse bags then thrown into the fenced area before BCC comes to collect. We do not want to make the area around Egodini a dumping ground. There is a need for more bins, at least two skip bins, because this area is congested,” he said.
He said their associations have made a combined effort to put gates on the sanitary lane behind TM Egodini after realising that people were throwing litter, and now the lane is clean.
Early this week, Bulawayo deputy mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube bemoaned the fact that a number of bins that were put by council had gone missing but the associations said council needed to involve them to help stop the vice.
“As long as they don’t involve us as stakeholders that is bound to happen. But if they involve us, by telling us how many bins they are placing at which areas, the bins will not be stolen. It’s not easy for them to manage that but we can. We have managed a lot of things because we are organised,” said Mr Ncube.
Women from Sinqobile Health Care decried the shortage of toilets stating that they are only two known public toilets in the city centre which are at city hall and old renkini.
“People do not have anywhere to relieve themselves, there is only one toilet at Mthize Flea Market which is not even signposted, people are not aware of it. This leads to residents relieving themselves anywhere,” a representative said.
Mr Ncube said they can source mobile toilets and place them around, but they need the city council’s assurance that they will empty them.