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Gweru vendors take over public toilets, charge use fees . . . as strike paralyses council operations

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VENDORS in Gweru have reportedly taken advantage of the ongoing council workers’ strike and grabbed all public toilets in the city where they are now charging for use of public toilets in the central business district and pocketing the money.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Council workers downed tools last Tuesday following a stalemate over their outstanding salaries and have vowed not to report for work until their employer has cleared the salary arrears for the past seven months.

On Tuesday, Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi ordered the workers to return to work, but the latter remained defiant.

The enterprising vendors were yesterday charging a nominal fee of R2 per head for use of toilets at Kudzanai bus terminus and the city
centre.

“We are charging R2 per individual for those who want to use the toilets here (Kudzanai bus terminus),” a vendor who identified herself as Mavis Marambe said.

“It is not our duty to clean these toilets, but at least we are helping travellers as the situation has become a health time bomb.”

Marambe said she and her two friends collected between R100 and R200 each day which they shared equally.

Some travellers who were turned away after they failed to pay the fee described the move as criminal, saying public toilets were supposed to be for free.

“I am travelling with my family to Gokwe and we wanted to use the toilets, but we were told to pay a total of $1. I only have bus fare. Where do I get an extra dollar to use the toilets? ” Muchaneta Mlilo queried.

The vendors have teamed up to burn piling garbage at makeshift dump sites in the city as the industrial action which entered its second week yesterday has paralysed all council operations.

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