Mixed feelings as investment project threatens 600 vendors’ livelihoods

A $56 million Bulawayo City Council investment project set to create employment opportunities has raised mixed feelings as it could scupper 600 vendors’ livelihoods.

The project, modeled around Johannesburg’s Park Station, will see hundreds of vendors based at the popular Egodini Commuter Terminus making way for a multi-million dollar shopping complex.

According to the Council the complex will, like the South African model, comprise of an up-market traffic hub and a terminus on the ground floor, and a shopping complex on the upper floor.

Vending bays will be provided but that they will not be as cheap as the ones currently offered to vendors who are selling at Egodini.

On Thursday an SW Radio Africa correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, reported that while the residents welcomed the project there were immediate concerns that it would scupper livelihoods.

The Zimbabwe Chamber for the Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA), the Bulawayo Public Transport Association (BUPTA) and the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) are seeking an assurance from the council that they will be relocated to an appointed place.

The vendors are also seeking an assurance that they will be allowed to rent space at the completion of the project.

But according to Saungweme, Bulawayo Mayor Martin Moyo told a stakeholders meeting this week that he could not ‘guarantee’ their requests as the complex will be run on a commercial basis operating ‘expensive bays’.

Pressure groups are also demanding that jobs arising at the completion of the project ‘must be for Bulawayo residents’.

Bulawayo is generally on the decline with many factories closing yearly creating massive unemployment. – SW Radio Africa News

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