Gweru residents see life worsening after council destroys vending stalls

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By Staff Reporter

Gweru: A residents’ group has urged city fathers to erect new stalls to replace those razed by the local authority to avoid starvation among those who depend on vending.

This comes after the city dispatched teams to destroy market stalls erected illegally in some city spots.

The central government led operation, which has been replicated in other major cities in the country, is meant to rid the places of the illegal features.

But while acknowledging the stance by authorities, the Gweru Residents and Rate Payers Association (GRRA) feels new vending stalls at designated areas should speedily be installed to avoid cases in which informal traders end up starving.

The crisis has been worsened by the national lockdown that has seen locals fail to access their workplaces and sources of income in the last four weeks.

GRRA director Cornilia Selipiwe told the current situation spelt disaster.

“If we have it our way, we would have requested council not to demolish those structures because they are a source of livelihoods,” Selipiwe said.

“We would have loved to see people being moved to other vending places and structures ready for business.”

He predicted tougher times post lockdown period.

“This is a disaster in waiting. Our economy is largely informal, people will suffer after this lockdown.

“Having said that, we hope that they (council) are going to erect vending markets as quickly as possible to avert people’s suffering.

“It is our hope that this has presented the local authority with an opportunity to come up with proper vending places,” he said.

Gweru Council last week gave vendors a 48-hour ultimatum to collect their wares and vacate the CBD in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Council resolved to shut down all vending markets.

“In light of the recent lockdown and the increasing number of Covid-19 cases countrywide, it is prudent to be proactive and take reasonable steps in order to avert further spread of the Coronavirus.

“As an institute, it is important to note that our densely populated market places have to be closed for the time being and this will curb the spread of the Coronavirus,” minutes from Gweru council revealed.