Buteko Market traders bemoan overcrowding and poor sanitation

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Traders at Buteko Market, one of Mufulira’s main markets, have complained of congestion and poor sanitation which has been caused by the banning of street vending in Mufulira district last year.

Speaking in an interview with Zambian Eye, the market traders complained of an overcrowded market as well as few toilets against so many people.

A Buteko market trader and former street vendor Annette Munkusa said that the Mufulira council should have planned where to take them before removing them from the corridors as the conditions they are operating from now are not conducive.

“When they moved us from the street, they told us that we were over 700 street vendors so you can imagine the congestion that has caused by mixing us with old Buteko market traders. We also only have about 5 toilets the whole market for both old and new traders,” Munkusa said.

And existing market traders have also complained of the mixing, stating that business has now become slow for them.

A trader, Judith Chibalwe explained that since the mixing, business has been slow for them as the street vendors would order from the market traders and then resale in the streets.

“Many people who used to sell in the streets have stopped doing business because the place is not large enough to cater for all of us. Like for me personally, I sell order goods and the street vendors would order my onions may be even three or four times a day the same person but now, business has slowed,” she complained.

And another Buteko market trader and former street vendor Niza Chanda complained that she had no shelter but was just selling under the hot sun.

“I’m not happy to be selling under the boiling sun and as you can see, my table is right next to the toilet and flies from the toilet are landing on my tomato and onion. Surely can a customer seeing this be encouraged to buy? ,” Chanda complained.

“On top of all this, we are also hearing that all of us, both new and old market traders will soon be moved from here and taken to an area beyond Malela market. That place is a bushy area and will be too far for our customers. It is also full of sewers,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mufulira council assistant Public Relations Manager Thandiwe Tembo has assured the market traders that the council would work on the area beyond Malela market before moving the to ensure that the place is conducive.

“The engineering department is on the ground to make sure that the new area is more favourable to conduct business in,” Tembo stated.

She has also assured the market traders that the movement to the new area was only for a short while so that the council could build a modernized market in place of the old one.

“We are aware of the shortage of space and sanitation problems at Buteko market and so that’s why we are moving them to a new area so that we can construct a more sanitary place with modern stores and stands. The local government has already selected a company called Horizon property to work on the new market construction,” she added.

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