Gweru flea markets flourish despite exorbitant fees


GWERU-Vendors are enjoying booming sales at the famous Gweru weekend flea market, located at OK Zimbabwe along Robert Mugabe Way, as witnessed by the increase in the number of traders every week.

Initially, many traders boycotted the market’s reintroduction due to exorbitant fees.

However, as time went on, the market came back to life as traders flocked to sell their merchandise.

Traders pay US$14 for a 2×2-meter bay on Saturdays and Sundays.

According to the figures gleaned by The Midweek Watch from Gweru City Council books, the number of traders surged from 274 to 340 in April compared to the first week of trading in March, which had 244 traders.

City of Gweru spokesperson, Vimbai Chingwaramusee expressed satisfaction at the bays uptake by vendors and urged those who intend to join the trade to seize the opportunity and make money.

However, Gweru Vendors and Traders Association Trust consultant, from Munyati Development Strategies, Constain Mukanganike urged the local authority to revise the two day rentals downwards to make them affordable in order to attract more vendors.

“The current challenge lies in the affordability of the fees imposed by the council.

“Charging $14 for two days is quite high. Business is still slow, and some traders may go for two consecutive weeks without making a sale,” said Mukanganike.

Anastasia Ngwenya, a second-hand clothing vendor, appealed to the Midlands capital officials to create additional working space during the week to accommodate more traders.

She added that the vendors are flooding the streets because council fees are beyond the reach of many, especially when business is slow.

The majority of Gweru vendors have not legalized their businesses, leading to a cat-and-mouse game with municipal police officers.

 With the Vendors risking their lives as they dart through traffic to evade the confiscation of their wares by council officials.

In the approved 2024 budget, the local authority increased penalty fees for illegal hawkers from US$33.28 to US$57.50, while the penalty for illegal vendors rose from US$20.80 to US$35.08.

These increases represent a 73% rise for illegal vending and a 69% increase for illegal hawking.

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