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BCC to set up market stalls in suburbs

by Staff reporter
26 Apr 2020 at 12:13hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has identified and designated areas for the setting-up of agro-food distribution hubs and vending sites at each suburb in its efforts to reduce decongestion in the Central Business District (CBD) as it continues with moves to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Responding to questions sent to the local authority by Sunday News, the council's senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, said the local authority has identified areas designated for the setting-up of market stalls in all the suburbs in the city to enable informal traders to sell their wares within their vicinities.

"The markets have been identified in all suburban shopping centres in the city, close to residents for informal traders to sell their wares in their localities in an effort to de-congest the city centre. An assessment is being made to ascertain additional infrastructure requirements on these sites to ensure compliance. In terms of city planning all shopping centres in the city have designated vending bays ready for allocation," she said.

Mrs Mpofu said the setting up of the market stalls by the local authority was in compliance with a circular from the Ministry of Lands Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement (Guidelines for the Resilient Food Supply Chain System during and after the lockdown) containing a raft of measures to be implemented by local authorities and observed in an effort to create a resilient food supply chain system during and after the Covid-19 lock down to avoid food shortages.

"In response the city has also identified agro-food distribution hubs for food markets and vending sites to comply with strict hygiene requirements. Strict emphasis is placed on selling on designated places with entry and exits points for ease of traffic and people management, adequate portable water supply and safe sanitary facilities with washing provisions, waste removal facilities and strict adherence to health standards. Some of the identified sites meet these requirements whereas additional work will be needed for some sites to ensure they comply," she said.

Mrs Mpofu said in some areas the local authority would engage into partnerships with privately run facilities to ensure delivery sites are strategically located to serve the community conveniently.

"Council is also reviewing vending areas or activities not meeting the set guidelines above with a view to discontinuing such sites, in an effort to maintain the safety and health of the Bulawayo community and equally plan for compliant and strategically positioned sites to facilitate continued service provision to the community," she said.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) Mr Michael Mdladla Ndiweni said the relocation of the informal traders to townships was a noble idea as it would bring markets closer to consumers.

"The idea to relocate traders from the CBD to townships is a good initiative as far as we are concerned, because it brings markets closer to the people. So, it saves people from spending money on transport into the CBD and in most cases, women are in the habit of going to the city's vegetable markets in the wee hours risking being mugged while on their way to buy products for resale thus having the produce being brought closer to them is an advantage," he said.

Mr Ndiweni however, said: "We hope that these new market stalls will have proper ablution facilities in terms of water and toilets as well as proper trading spaces so that people conduct their business in decent places."

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Source - sundaynews