Council issues 48-hour ultimatum to 5th Ave vendors

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has given vendors who have been trading from the 5th Avenue market in the central business district a 48-hour notice to remove their metal structures from the road, failure to which it would be treated like garbage.

In a statement issued Saturday, the local authority noted that the ultimatum will be effective on Monday April 27 and Tuesday April 28, 2020.

This is in response to a call by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement urging local authorities to take advantage of the national lockdown to clean up and renovate Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and informal traders’ workplaces.

The latter ministry came up with guidelines for the Resilient Food Supply Chain System (RFSCS) to avoid food supply shocks which may be caused by the lockdown in order to guarantee every Zimbabwean citizen an uninterrupted food supply during and after the lockdown period.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube, in the statement said the city council has come up with a number of initiatives to operationalise the pronouncements made by the two ministries. 

“5th Avenue road shall be re-opened for vehicular traffic movement. The Khothama Tower Block weekend and holiday vending has been abolished and decentralised to suburban shopping centres. All designated bays are being redesigned to comply with social distancing and other COVID-19 health requirements. Such vending sites include Lobengula Mall, City Hall Sites and TM Hyper Pick ‘N’ Pay among others,” said Dube.

“All informal traders who were operating along 5th Avenue will be relocated to vending bays near their places of residence. The current vending records shall be used to assist the relocation process.”

Dube said council has identified Wholesale Distribution Centres (WDCs) for fresh farm produce around the city-some of which are privately owned.

He said arrangements are being made to engage the private owners on modalities of operation.

“Some WDCs lack complete requisite infrastructure that fully comply with COVID-19 health requirements but the same shall be treated as work in progress,” said Dube.

The council official noted that farmers shall be required to deliver their produce to the WDCs for wholesale between 4am to 8am.

“The move will decongest the Central Business District (CBD) though the existing WDCs in the CBD shall continue to operate serving other eastern suburbs without WDCs. Modalities of using Council facilities shall be refined on a case by case situation and as work in progress,” he said.

Dube further acknowledged that while council is financially constrained to provide the requisite infrastructure, it is cognisant that through Public Private Partners (PPP) or private initiatives, the dream of RFSCS is realistic.

“In view of the foregoing, council is open for all forms of partnerships. It shall come up with standard designs in consultation with the relevant stakeholders to be used for vending shades to ensure affordability, functionality and aesthetics,” said Dube.

“Once the vending bays in suburban shopping centres are clearly demarcated, the same shall be allocated as per council policy also observing those currently trading on given sites and the displaced lot.”

The WDCs which have been identified include Tshabalala market, Emganwini Mupedzanhamo, Sekusile, Nkulumane Complex, New Magwegwe Terminus, Lobengula Market Konron, Magwegwe North Terminus, Old Pumula Market, Luveve Terminus Site, Cowdray Park, Entumbane Complex, Entumbane Flea Market, Njube Market, Mabutweni Market, Makokoba Market, Makokoba Efusini, Nkunzi Beer Garden and Burombo Beer Garden.

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