Bulawayo: Vendors Defy Ban, Resurface in CBD

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO fruit and vegetable vendors have resurfaced at their usual selling points after disappearing for more than a month following the introduction of national lockdown on March 30 to fight the spread of Covid-19 virus.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week eased Covid-19 regulations, a development that has resulted in life almost returning to normal in the city’s Central Business District (CBD).

But the president kept a ban on informal trading activities.

Last month, Bulawayo city council housing director, Dictor Khumalo wrote to leaders of vendors associations advising them of council’s decision to relocate vendors and closing all vending bays in the CBD during and after the lockdown period.

As part of a raft of measures in response to Covid-19, the council identified bulk delivery sites for fresh produce in the high-density suburbs.

However, some vendors are defying the order and this week started trickling back into the CBD.

Police officers mounting horses spent time on Thursday playing cat and mouse games with the vendors.

“Business in the high-density suburbs is very low. I tried to sell my goods at one of the council’s newly designated sites in Tshabalala but there were very few clients,” said Edmore Sithole, selling tomatoes and potatoes in the CBD Thursday.

Lee Nzima of Nkulumane suburb said despite cat-and-mouse games with municipal and police officers, he had no other option but to return to the streets as it was the only way to raise money and feed his family.

“I am the sole breadwinner in my family and I have got a lot of responsibilities. If I don’t sell fruits in the streets, no one will pay my rentals. The government should allow us to operate like what industry and commerce are doing because we have all been affected by Covid-19,” said Nzima. witnessed scores of vendors being arrested at the once-famous 5th avenue vegetable market.