BULAWAYO city centre came to a standstill on Tuesday afternoon when a convoy of cross-border kombis, mostly South African registered Toyota Quantums, moved around with drivers honking their horns, marking the launch of Malayitsha for Economic Development.
Driving in a procession, the cross-border transport operators drove through the city centre, attracting the attention of onlookers as they snaked their way to Crescent Sports Club, the venue of the launch.
Omalayitsha are among the unsung heroes to most communities, particularly in the Matabeleland region where most people based in the diaspora rely on them to send groceries and money to their loved ones back home.
Speaking during the launch, Zanu-PF provincial secretary for administration, Cde Raymond Mtomba said omalayitsha play a critical role in people’s lives yet they are overlooked and not given the due recognition for their services.
“In as much as we might not give credit to omalayitsha, they play a big role in our day-to-day lives, especially in this part of the country. When we look at reality, most people in the country are buying their property and other items from neighbouring countries such as Botswana and South Africa,” he said.
Cde Mtomba said omalayitsha are not only the backbone of the transport industry but of the nation as they continue to support many families.
“We could not have continued to support and endorse many different stakeholders forgetting the key players in our economy, which is why we have allocated a separate space from where they will operate from. This initiative to give these transporters operating space will go a long way in reducing the commotion among transporters carrying passengers from undesignated areas,” he said.
Cde Mtomba said omalayitsha also contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.
“They transport groceries, building materials among other things and also come handy especially when a Zimbabwean based in South Africa dies in the neighbouring country without a funeral policy,” he said
Malayitsha for Economic Development vice chairperson, Mr Mqondisi Ndlovu extended his gratitude to the ruling party for facilitating that they secure operating space at the Entumbane Complex.
“We have always faced challenges in operating because we did not have space to operate from. In as much as it seemed like we were unruly by operating illegally, the reason why we operated at undesignated spaces was that we did not have any space to operate from,” he said.
“This initiative by the ruling party to grant us space will go a long way in promoting our businesses and it shows that the ruling party is a listening party.”
Mr Ndlovu said they are fully behind President Mnangagwa’s economic policies and development agenda, which leaves no one and no place behind.
A cross-border transporter, Mr Mlungisi Moyo said the efforts spearheaded by President Mnangagwa to promote businesses are an indication that he is a listening leader.
“We appreciate the work being done by the President, which shows that he does not discriminate against anyone or overlook the needs of his people. We asked for operating space and we were given,” said Mr Moyo. Chronicle