By Nqobile Tshili
Vendors operating from Renkini Bus Terminus have returned to their usual spots despite the rank being closed to transport operators.
Renkini closed down in March when Government imposed a national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Intercity and rural to city travelling has been suspended as Government fights to reduce the transmission of the virus.
However, despite the closure of Renkini Bus Terminus, some vendors operating from the site have returned to their vending stalls, but now operating under a totally different environment.
The place is semi-deserted with only a few people pushing carts in what was usually a robust scene bustling with activity.
Vendors told Chronicle that life has become increasingly difficult since Renkini Bus Terminus closed in March.
Mr Mdedele Ngwenya from Cowdray Park said he has operated from Renkini Bus Terminus for the past 30 years and does not know where else to go.
“This place has been part of life for the past three decades. I never thought this place will be so naked as it is now. It used to be full of life but now everything seems to be dead. But it’s better for me to be here even if it’s no longer the Renkini I knew.
“We suffered during the first 21-days of lockdown. But the relaxed lockdown regulations have seen even us eking a living the best way we know,” said Mr Ngwenya.
Mr Sipho Moyo, a father of three, said he has managed to adequately feed his family through vending at Renkini since 2010.
But due to Covid-19 induced lockdown, life has become unbearable and his family has been forced to cutdown on meals from three to two a day.
“Previously, I knew that my family could have three meals a day through selling various products here. But since lockdown was imposed, there is no one travelling to and from rural areas using Renkini as their designated pickup points.
“Meaning all those clients who were coming here are no longer coming. But I just had to return to my vending spot because I will be worse off if I do not do this,” said Mr Moyo.
He compared his trade to being an animal saying even when the water body dries up, the animal continues to visit the place hoping to find water.
“This is exactly what we are doing. We keep on coming back and sometimes we can even go back home without selling anything. But what other options do I have, my children need to eat. What is now important is that I get money to buy mealie-meal and the rest is history,” he said.
Another vendor Mr Musa Ndlovu said it was better to struggle while doing something as opposed to staying at home.
He said he was taking care of his wife and seven children.
“We suffered when Government imposed the initial lockdown. We had no way of fending for our families. But after the lockdown measures were relaxed, we have been able to fend for our children. Some of the clients even call before coming.
“So, this is how I’ve been able to provide for my family. Because if we don’t do this, people will end up involved in criminal activities. We have seen a lot of people losing their goods to smash and grab thieves who use cars as get away vehicles. We don’t want that,” he said.
Mr Ndlovu said they were also worried by the Covid-19 threat.
He said they also follow Government Covid-19 prevention measures as they were at high risk due to the nature of their duties. The Chronicle