Council to decongest Mpopoma informal traders market

Bulawayo councillors have resolved to allow the central government to assist them to relocate entrepreneurs whose operating spaces were gutted down by fire at the Mpopoma factory popularly known as Espampirikini in January.

The government would assist by refurbishing the area and hand it over to council, council will then allocate the places to the business operators accordingly.  

According to the April council report, the councillors discussed how to assist the affected entrepreneurs by providing alternative operational places. 

According to the minutes, the councillors noted that the central government would assist to develop the place.

“Councillor Arnold Batirai was concerned about the involvement of Central Government in Council affairs regarding small-scale and medium entrepreneurs. The issue of decongesting Espamprekini was a Council matter. Councillor Felix Mhaka sought clarification on whether Espamperekini occupants had agreed to be relocated to the new site. Funding from the devolution could be used. More developments were needed to accommodate more entrepreneurs,” the minutes read. 

“Councillor Donaldson Mabuto highlighted that the initiative came as a result of mitigatory measures after Espamperekini had been destroyed by fire a few weeks ago. Stakeholders in ward 9 had met at Inyathi Youth Centre and crafted a model to solve the crisis. Espamprekini was designed for 31 entrepreneurs but currently it was holding more than 200. The second meeting was held and the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises (Sithembiso Nyoni) was present. She highlighted that Council should avail land for the construction of factory shells. Once land was availed Central Government would construct the factory shells and then handover to Council.” 

The minutes highlighted that after engagements with the Espamprekini occupants, the Committee requested that movement be done after a year while other considerations would be done accordingly. 

“The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Mlandu Ncube) enquired if Council had plans about SMEs? The move to decongest Espamperenkini was welcome. The Director of Town Planning explained that Council had designated areas for SMEs. There were Factory Shells at Kelvin North. There were also employment creation zones at Cowdray Park and Pumula East. These areas were awaiting servicing,” the minutes read. 

“The Town Clerk advised that Central Government would develop the areas and then hand them over to Council. There were similar projects where Central Government had developed and handed over to Council. Barbourfields Stadium was one of them.”

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