ABOUT 2 000 vendors and small-scale businesspeople operating at Bulawayo’s Basch Street terminus, popularly known as Egodini, have vowed to resist council plans to evict them from the site to pave way for a multi-million dollar construction project.
by NQOBILE BHEBHE
The traders said they would only relocate if the alternative site is strategic for business.
The construction of the $60 million regional transport hub and shopping complex by South African civil engineering firm, Terrocota, was expected to start this week.
Bulawayo Entrepreneurs’ Association president, Isaiah Jonga yesterday said the association would not hesitate to put up a resistance if the proposed new site proved to be not viable for their activities.
“I read in the newspapers about the project and am very keen to see the new sites if they are a conducive working environment for humans,” Jonga said.
“I think all those affected whether they are our members or not, should resist the development until when the environment is conducive for working
“The council must put the lives of people first before exposing them to poor and hazardous conditions.”
According to reports, a ceremony to handover the site to contractors was planned for Wednesday.
The project was put on halt with the compensation of sitting tenants being the sticking issue.
The city valuer estimated that compensation was $102 253.
In 2013, council issued vendors with a four-month notice to vacate the site.
“You are therefore given four months’ notice from the date of this letter (19 August 2013) to wind up your business operations and vacate the premises. This also implies that you should clear all your arrears amounting to $2 898,95 as at August 31 2013, within this period,” part of the notice read.
The project entails the construction of a shopping mall with modern facilities that include informal trader stalls, a transport hub, loading and offloading bays.
About 250 modern informal trader stalls in the retail basement section and 500 informal trader stalls on the roof of the complex are set to be built to create a flea market for retail traders.