Once completed, the Egodini mall project is set to accommodate over 1 000 informal traders, a move that will ease decongestion in the central business district, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has noted.
Mayor of Bulawayo, Solomon Mguni, confirmed the figure while giving an update of the state of the city recently.
Although he could not say when the project would be completed, the mayor said Egodini Mall would come with modern vending stalls, furnished with ablution facilities and storage units to change the face of vending.
“This project will greatly ease congestion that we are currently experiencing in the city centre and at Lobengula mall, as it will accommodate over 1 000 informal traders. To lessen conflict in the city, monthly stakeholder engagement meetings have been ongoing to make sure that trading is in compliance with municipal by-laws so that both formal and informal business are protected,” said the Mayor.
“Our aim is to provide effective management of a clean, safe and secure thriving city where all stakeholders can conduct their business favourably, in a fair manner.”
Cllr Mguni said the city council was cognisant of the need to improve vending infrastructure, citing that the only way to achieve this would be for the industry to be properly regulated.
“We need to generate sufficient revenues, which can be ploughed back to the city in order to improve the operating trading environment,” he explained
“Illegal vendors will therefore be removed from undesignated sites and be relocated properly to designated trading zones in compliance with municipal bylaws and policies. This will help to facilitate occupation of designated bays by those who have been allocated the sites by council.”
The Mayor added that as a way of building up to this change, the local authority has already established a vegetable wholesale market at Old Pumula to strategically serve areas of Pumula South, Old Pumula, Pumula North, Robert Sinyoka and Mazwi Village.
“Currently wholesale fruits and vegetable markets are mainly located in the CBD, thereby attracting hordes of vendors in the city every morning. Therefore to decentralise such activities, there is a need to establish markets in selected neighbourhoods. This will improve access to the goods by traders, remove transport costs and reduce traffic congestion on our roads,” Cllr Mguni said.
He noted that the council was proposing to establish another vegetable wholesale market at Magwegwe North Shopping centre to serve locals from Magwegwe, Luveve, and Gwabalanda.