Speaking at a meeting with Small-to-medium enterprises Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Provincial affairs minister Judith Ncube and BCC representatives in the city, Bulawayo Upcoming Traders association secretary-general Dumisani Ncube accused the council of not entertaining vendors aligned to the ruling party.
"Some people failed to renew their vending licences after threats that the council will confiscate their licences. You can take a survey, the bulk of them are suffering because they are from the ruling party. The reason is as you go to Makokoba at Fife Street, BCC officers are saying go to Zanu-PF and we will see what it can do for you," he said.
"We have one member who was arrested when council raided vendors and confiscated their wares where they were being evicted. The vendors lost their vending bays."
Nyoni said registered informal traders were not political entities, but economic entities that played a major role in developing the country.
"Vendors are not political entities, they are economic entities and for that matter, they fall under my ministry, they do not fall under a political party. They are not supposed to be mistreated because they belong to a certain party or others treated well judging from which party they come from," she said.
Nyoni urged the traders to develop and advance their businesses.
She said small-to-medium enterprises were not functioning due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We had stopped functioning due to the outbreak of COVID-19. even now, some enterprises are still not functioning ... I want you to go read Statutory Instrument (SI) 136, what the President said when he said people who must return are informal sectors that are registered from designated areas," Nyoni said.
"I have been consulting. We have a new strategy and policy which the cabinet has approved following the SI 133. (On) local authorities, the cabinet has stated that informal traders are supposed to be allocated in their places phase by phase because they want to manage COVID-19."
However, council engineering deputy director Wisdom Siziba said they were introducing the suburban vending bays and allocations had since started, adding the move would decongest the central business district.
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