BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU city councillors want action to be taken against Bentach Resources, a company contracted by the local authority to refurbish Kudzanai Bus Terminus after it hiked bay fees by more than 100%.
The fee hike means that informal traders in Gweru will fork out $400 to $800 per day, a situation that has prompted an outcry as they say the charges are exorbitant.
At a recent full council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed that the increment was not “in good faith” and called for action against the company.
Ward 13 councillor Catherine Mhondiwa said action should be taken against Bentach for increasing bay fees.
“The idea of market stalls is to reduce poverty among residents, and so any increase done without such consideration would be out of
Mhondiwa said women, who form the majority of informal traders, were the worst affected by the fee hike as they were struggling to feed their families.
Councillors then unanimously agreed that “action be taken against Bentach” for the increase.
Mayor Josiah Makombe said council would set up a committee to engage the company over the new fees.
“As council we have set up a committee to engage our partner (Bentach) for contract violation.
“The increment was not supposed to be effected without the contractor consulting us first. So the committee will engage our partner over these rates.
“This issue is of big interest to our people because when we look at vending markets, it’s a matter of poverty alleviation, and so we would not want a situation where residents are short-changed,” he said.
Bentach last month said the move was necessitated by the prevailing economic environment. The Zimbabwe Chamber for Small to Medium Enterprises, Gweru chapter chairperson Tafadzwa Mazorodze recently said the hike in fees would burden the already suffering informal traders.