SMALL-SCALE businesspeople operating around the Batch Street terminus, popularly known as Egodini, have formed a committee to lobby the Bulawayo City Council to give them a six-month grace period to vacate the area.
Council issued the small-scale businesses with a four-month notice to vacate on August 19 to make way for a regional transport hub and shopping complex.
The four months expire tomorrow.
The chairperson of the committee Gordon Dube, told Southern Eye yesterday that their aim was to try and convince council to extend the grace period up to June next year.
“We are going to write to the city council asking for an extension of at least six months. December 19 or 31 is not convenient for us. Some of our colleagues, especially colleges, have registered their students for next term, so vacating this month will jeopardise their businesses completely,” Dube said.
“Council was supposed to plan this properly not what it did. How can they give us a notice of four months? We need time to wind up our businesses,” he added.
Some businesspeople said they had nowhere to go at the moment and would just wait and see what council will do when the deadline expires tomorrow.
“There is nothing we can do at the moment,” a director of a college operating in the area, said.
“Where can we go? This is very hard for some of us operating institutions like colleges. People have lost hope in us and I doubt whether they will bring their children back to school next year.
“We hope council will give us another six months or one year to wrap up our businesses properly,” the director said.
Another businessperson said the city council had no right to evict them because they purchased those premises years ago.
“We do not understand why council is doing this because we bought these premises.
“They cannot just evict us without any compensation.
“We are the rightful owners,” the businessperson said.
Council public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu did not respond to questions e-mailed to her.