Vendors who have been operating from the Central Business District (CBD) say they fear losing their clientele as the city council moves to relocate them to areas near their places of residence, Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) director Micheal Ndiweni has noted.
In an interview with CITE, Ndiweni said the vendors were skeptical as to whether they would be able to create the same customer base at their new operating places.
Last month the central government urged local authorities to decongest the city centres by moving vendors to designated vending sites close to where they live.
Ndiweni said vendors from the CBD have raised fears that their future is not certain at the new markets.
“There is no universal attitude towards this recent change. Vendors who have been operating from the CBD are lamenting loss of their clientele and the challenges of creating a new customer base. They fear that their future is not secure in the new market places,” said Ndiweni.
“However, those who have been operating from residential areas have welcomed this move citing they are going to do away with the hustles of commuting to town to buy their stock. Some have been mugged while some have been paying extra money to be delivered to their vending stalls from the CBD. They are elated that now farmers will be coming to them to deliver their products.”
Ndiweni cited that vendors and traders associations have held meetings with the city council to share plans for relocation and although some areas are ready for occupation others areas are not yet ready.
He said they expect all areas to have proper facilities before vendors move in.
In a recent interview with this publication, Ward 22 Councillor Rodney Jele, described the relocation of vendors as a necessary move which would assist the local authority to achieve its vision of creating a smart transformative Bulawayo by 2024.
He said the move would create economic vibrancy through the establishment of small local trade centers where people’s movement to the CBD would be limited as they would have their necessities close to them.