Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)on Friday 06 May 2022 held a community consultative meeting in Ward 28 Cowdray Park, Bulawayo. The meeting brought together informal traders, representatives of residence associations, and community members to discuss what challenges the community is facing, in particular the fact that this is a new suburb, which is the biggest in Bulawayo.
Challenges raised include that there are sections of the suburb that are not serviced by amenities such as shopping centres, roads, electricity, garbage collection, sewer services and garbage collection.
A topical challenge was that of political interference where a former Councillor took over and fenced off an allocated site for informal traders that had been set aside by the Ministry of Women’s affairs and Small to Medium Enterprise Development. When Bulawayo City Council (BCC) officials tried intervening in the impasse, the former Councillor allegedly brought in ruling party youths that violently dispersed everyone.
BCC subsequently issued a moratorium against the arrest and confiscation of informal trader wares until the dispute was resolved, however Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) continue raids, and traders appealed to VISET in bringing a resolution to the dispute. The following were agreed as priority areas requiring urgent attention from BCC and government;
- Market stalls
- Garbage collection
- Police base
A community survey will be conducted in the suburb, with the subsequent convening of a community and solution holder convention to deliberate on findings and obtain responses on practical remedies to challenges identified.