Byo vendors dismiss lockdown

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THE second largest city’s biggest representative organisation for vendors and informal traders has taken a dig at the 21-day lockdown, describing it as a facade and doing little to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This comes as many stakeholders have raised alarm over the continued failure to observe social distancing by citizens due to economic challenges which have seen many being forced to spend hours in long mealie-meal queues.

While police have tried to enforce the lockdown rules, arresting over a thousand nationwide, they are failing to deal with those who will be queuing for meal-mealie.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) executive director Michael Ndiweni yesterday said the government could not impose a lockdown when they had no solutions to ending mealie-meal queues, which are now a daily feature at most shopping centres in the city.

“As long as people do not have food, the purported lockdown is a facade.
‘‘The reason is that people were moved from gathering in town in order to gather in the townships in mealie meal queues.

“Retailers will continue shipping mealie-meal through back doors to be sold on the black market thereby sustaining queues in front of their shops and undermining social distancing,” Ndiweni said in a statement.

Last week, police in Bulawayo arrested and bundled into a truck hundreds of residents who had gathered at a supermarket in the central business district.

The residents were later dumped in a congested police camp, in a development that attracted fury from many analysts who described the move as a health hazard in the face of the pandemic which requires social distancing as a one of the protective measures.

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