GWERU vendors Association has lamented exclusion in processes involving them following council move to sign a USD6 million tender with private property developers, Betach Logistics and Cassas Properties, towards constructing recently demolished vending stalls.
Speaking to CommuTalk News, the association’s vice chairperson Angeline Zivanai said the move to reconstruct stalls was welcome but complained that council never consulted them ahead of the move in order to consider their plights.
“Council has really done well to commence work towards refurbishing our vending stalls. Challenge we face however is lack of communication and engagement.
“It is important that council engage us to hear our challenges and address them through such developments than for us to lament monotonous challenges. It will seem as if we are loud mouthed while such challenges are only corrected through engagement,” Zivanai said.
Official council data says Gweru has 4 200 registered vendors, a figure vendors say is low since they share stalls to accommodate those who have not been provided operating space by council.
“Council data has always told us Gweru has 4 500 vendors while our data base shows Gweru has plus or minus 12 000 vendors. How then are they going to address the challenge of make shift stalls if they can’t engage us on how to communicate developments,” Zivanai added.
Vendors also say they resorted to sharing silently after the local authority had given a deaf ear to their plea to the need for more space and instead concentrated o the need to demolish existing vending places.
Council however confirmed that the new Mtapa market will accommodate 4 600 vendors while total number of stalls to be constructed is approximately plus or minus 5000.
“4 600 stalls will be constructed at the new Mtapa market while the total number of stalls to be constructed under the recent agreement will have plus or minus 5 000 stalls,” said City of Gweru Public Relations and Communications officer, Vimbai Chingwaramusee.
Vendors have further pleaded with responsible authorities to assist them with alternative ways to operate since their income earning projects are shut down.
“We plead with responsible authorities to help with alternative ideas on how we can temporarily operate. We have tried operating from our homes but council has followed up and looted our wares. Survival has now become difficult.
“If they cannot let us operate from our homes, we plead with them to assist us with maize meal, cabbage and salt, just that. Most of us are facing serious food shortages. We have been promised sustenance funds but none came. We are struggling to make ends meet,” Zivanai further said.