Masvingo City Council has re-opened part of the fruit and vegetable section of Chitima market as well as part of the informal market adjacent to the Civic Centre Gardens along Leopold Takawira Ave.
Council began renovating part of the dilapidated market stalls at the beginning of the lockdown and currently, 64 bays at Leopold Takawira Ave and 80 bays at Chitima markets are ready.
City of Masvingo public relations officer Ashleigh Jinkika said vendors were now allowed to operate at the markets if they paid the requisite fees.
“Both markets at Chitima and Leopold Takawira are now opened but operation depends on payment of US$40 for a table. Traders had to apply again since allocation of the revamped space was done anew, with successful applicants signing lease agreements with council,” said Jinjika.
She said strict measures will be implemented to ensure that the market places were kept clean.
“We will ensure timeous refuse collection depending on the availability of resources to do so and we will not allow any illegal extension of the bays. We urge traders to help keep those markets clean by keeping their own refuse bins,” Jinjika said.
She said the rental costs were justified as council had refurbished the market stalls at great cost, meaning traders will now do business in cleaner and more dignified spaces.
“The markets were planned in such a way that traders will be able to maintain social distancing to help reduce chances of the spread of coronavirus,” said Jinjika.
Tanaka Murwidzi, an informal trader at Chitima market, said he was happy that he had managed a get trading space at the upgraded market.
“I am now happy after all these months of struggle. It was very difficult for people who have known no other work except this. I am also pleased that council has improved conditions at this place,” said Murwidzi.
However, others complained that the US$40 needed for the lease agreement was too high a price for many informal traders.