Siphathisiwe Tshuma/Vendetta Mtunzi
A health hazard is looming at a pick-up point along 6th Avenue and Lobengula Street where hundreds of commuter omnibuses and vendors are operating without toilets.
A visit by a B-Metro news crew revealed that commuter omnibus drivers, conductors and vendors relieve themselves at an alley close by while some use empty bottles of mineral water to relieve themselves.
On the other hand, fruit and vegetable vendors will be marketing their wares in the same area.
In separate interviews commuter omnibus drivers, conductors and vendors confirmed that they were forced to use empty bottles and sanitary lanes to relieve themselves as there were no toilets close by.
a�?I can speak for us here as commuter drivers, we urinate in bottles and toss them into the alley.
When we are lazy to walk to the alley we toss them by the passage where the vendors keep their fruits and trust me when I say these fruits sold here are sprinkled with our urine,a�? said Moses Gigaba, a commuter omnibus driver.
One of the vendors who refused to identify herself said it was risky for them to operate at a place without toilets, especially at a time when towns and cities were experiencing an outbreak of cholera.
a�?There are no toilets, imagine these kombi drivers and conductors, they dona��t even have a sense of health, they urinate everywhere since they always drink during working hours.
So, we are now living in fear of the outbreak of cholera if the city council does not quickly address the problem,a�? the vendor said.
Nonhlanhla Moyo, a vendor said Bulawayo City Council (BCC), should solve the matter.
a�?The council must make a plan and provide us with toilets because some of us even bring our young children to work. We also want bins to throw away pampers and other stuff, that also the council has not provided at our area,a�? said Moyo.
BCCa��s spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu said the area was not a rank and there was no need for ablution facilities.
a�?Sixth Avenue is a pick and drop off point not a rank hence no need to construct any permanent structures as the move from Egodini to the vicinity is temporary,a�? she said.
She added that passengers were not supposed to flood the area because the council also provided other pick and drop points in town to avoid congestion.
a�?Please walk to 3rd Avenue/ Lobengula Street terminus to board vehicles using Luveve Road. We are requesting passengers not to all congest the 6th Avenue pick-up point especially during the late afternoon peak period.a�?
The council added that there were available toilets for the informal vendors operating at 6th Avenue; at Basch Street/6th Avenue, Bazaars Complex, and that they were working on providing an additional toilet in the CBD.
Many commuter omnibus operators complained that the toilets council speaks about were far from where they operate.