In a move influenced by a government memo instructing councils to demolish all illegal vending stalls during lockdown, the City of Gweru has acted likewise and has given vendors two-day notice to clear their stalls, paving way for demolition exercise set to begin on 27 April 2020.
“At the nineth Cabinet meeting it was resolved that Local Authorities should take advantage of the national lockdown to clean up and renovate Small and Medium Enterprise and informal traders’ workplaces so that these areas will be more conducive to operate from when business reopens,” read the memo from Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
Speaking to CommuTalk, City of Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe said the City resolved in special council meeting held recently that they would put down all vending stalls legal and illegal then re-install legal stalls in a more orderly manner.
“We held a special council and we resolved to demolish vending stalls as per government memo. We however could not just do this without notifying vendors and they have two days to clear their stalls.
“The exercise will demolish all stalls as we wish to upgrade vending stalls for vendors who had been trading legally. It’s a tough decision to make but to some extent, it brings sanity and healthier working environments to our City,” Makombe said.
Residents are however devastated and angry as they have aired several concerns through the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA).
“We have had plenty complaint from residents over the proposed move but we can’t do anything about it honestly. You would realise that most have been earning a living from vending since jobs are scarce in Zimbabwe worse industry is shut,” said GRAA President Conilia Selipiwe.
“Way of survival to those who will not be able to regain their stalls is questioned. How will these people even afford the high inflation and which has even affected council to hike rates? Surely residents are devastated and bitter as their livelihoods are at stake,” Selipiwe added.
Gweru has tried over the years to demolish illegal vending stalls but had failed. Many are also worried over council’s ability to re-construct vending stalls in time as they have attributed poor service delivery to insufficient budgets as a result of the ailing economy.