THE Bulawayo City Council has offered temporary trading facilities to local business people whose shops were looted and vandalised in last month’s violent protests in order to service affected residents in the Western suburbs.

The plan is set to benefit shop operators who had valid licences for retail purposes but does not include liquor trading.

According to the latest council report, the local authority said the trail of destruction at shopping centres in the Western suburbs had created a humanitarian crisis hence the need for the local authority to step in.

“The situation is now a humanitarian crisis since people have no shopping facilities and are not able to buy low order goods. Most people might not afford to travel to the city centre for daily necessities. This has left the shop owners with no premises to operate from and also the residents with no shops from which to buy their daily necessities,” read the report.

The local authority said business people would be accommodated in temporary trading facilities at Council halls which are available all over the city, churches and residential houses. 

The shop owners will also be granted permission to either use their houses or rent houses in instances where their shops are close to the properties. 

They can also set up caravans adjacent to their shops for the duration of repairs.

The local authority proposed that the temporary facilities be offered for a period ranging between 6 to 12 months.

The damaged shops were categorised into two, those that are extensively damaged and those that have minor damages.

The council said those with extensively damaged shops would need more time to repair and in some cases there might be need for construction work after their roofs collapsed and walls were partially destroyed. 

The local authorities said those that suffered minor damages like shattered windows, damaged doors and burglar bars will require a short period to repair. 

The report states that Commercial Centres in the extensively damaged category include New Magwegwe Commercial Centre (Mabodoko), Tshabalala Extension (Chicken Corner), Entumbane District Commercial Centre and Lobengula West Commercial Centre (Mountain View).

Those that have minor damages include Nketa 9 commercial centre, Emganwini 1 and 11 commercial centre, Cowdray Park Phase 1 commercial centre 1 ( TM) and Cowdray Park Phase 2 commercial centre (Terminus).

“For those traders who had their premises damaged but are utilising portions of the premises whilst doing renovations, council minimum health requirements will be relaxed for a period of six months while renovations are taking place.

“This will, however, apply only to low order goods like groceries that are licensed under classes 2, 3, 4,6,7,8. 

This will not apply to those traders trading in liquor like bottle stores and sports bars and also other operations like hardware shops,” read the report.

Councillors resolved that the temporary facilities be granted only to those traders whose vandalised properties have valid trading licences.

“Those traders that are offered Council accommodation should be offered on free rental as they still have obligations to pay rates for the damaged properties. 

That a special dispensation be made for residential houses and community halls that will be identified under this process to be used as shops,” read the report. 

It was also resolved that traders must comply with the minimum health requirements applicable for classes of goods that are to be sold at the temporary premises