By Martin Mawaya
The ten civic society organisations in Gweru has formed a united front in petitioning the central government to bail out the Gweru City Council (GCC) in the construction of Mtapa marketing malls at new Mtapa light industrial sites.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Gweru, Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association (GUPRADA) Executive Director, Pastor David Chikore said the Zimbabwe economy is run by the informal sector hence the government should assist the cash strapped local authority to reconstruct the informal traders’ malls in Mtapa.
“As residents associations together with our partners from the civil society, we are aware that the local authority has no money to construct the market malls in Mtapa.
“The money was not budgeted for hence we are calling on the central government to extend a hand and bail out our council with the resources so that they can reconstruct the market malls and improve resident’s livelihoods,” he said.
Chikore added that they are making the plea because the central government ordered the removal of informal traders markets.
“We are appealing to government because they are the ones who directed our local authority to remove all the informal traders in the Central Business District (CBD) to the newly established Mtapa market,” he explained.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) Executive Director Cornelious Selipiwe said most of the people survive on informal trading.
“It is known that most of the residents survive on buying and selling; and the removal of their markets has made their lives miserable because they no longer have income. It is an extra cost to the local authority because the money was not budgeted for.
“We are therefore appealing to the central government to expeditiously assist our council so that the Mtapa project can be completed in earnest,” added Selipiwe.
Meanwhile, the construction preparation of Mtapa market malls are underway with media reports quoted the Mayor Councilor Josiah Makombe saying the local authority is intending to build smart city markets.