By Ratidzo Munembi
City of Masvingo is rapidly building new market stalls in place of some of the old, shoddy structures that had become a terrible eyesores for the time preceding the COVID-19 national lockdown.
In April, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ordered all local authorities to take advantage of the lockdown to clean up their informal market places by destroying illegal structures and building proper stalls.
Masvingo responded to the call by destroying illegal extensions on the shanty Chitima market which is made up of the fresh produce section and the miscellaneous section, before razing down much of the main market in town situated adjacent to the Civic Centre.
Part of the vegetable section of Chitima market is now undergoing reconstruction, with better materials being used than the makeshift wood and plastic that had covered the place before.
Similar work is also being done on part of the Civic Centre flea market, where some more acceptable materials are being used in the rebuilding process.
In October 2019, City of Masvingo Housing and Community Services director, Levison Nzvura had told TellZim News that council planned to upgrade Chitima market into a better place of doing business by properly enclosing it and regularizing traders’ operations.
[ read similar story here http://www.tellzim.com/2019/10/no-more-free-reign-at-chitima-vendors.html ]
“We have been unable to keep track of the exact number of people doing beusines there because there is no consolidated database of traders. People come and occupy a stall for a day or two and then go away. Nobody pay for the bays except for a few so council is making huge losses there.
“We have done a lot to make sure conditions there are good but sometimes the people themselves make a mess of their own market. People use the strangest of objects in the toilets leading to blockages, and it’s council that has to unblock them despite that most of the very same people do not pay anything to use the market,” said Nzvura then.
He also said council wanted to rationalise operations at the market so that proper services could be provided.
“There are about 700 bays there and we want to know who owns which bay so that we can make follow ups in terms of rentals. We will than use the money collected to improve facilities and put a good shade starting with the vegetable section. We want a proper market where people can go and shop with confidence,” he said.