Harare, February 01, 2016 – Vendors in Harare have abandoned the designated sites established by council last year and are flocking back into the Central Business District (CBD) where there is a lucrative market.
The development has set the stage for another showdown between the vendors and municipal police officers.
In a bid to decongest the city and get rid of thousands of illegal vendors who had invaded the CBD, government last year ordered all street traders to vacate the CBD for sites designated for the practice on the city’s outskirts.
The move was vehemently resisted by the vendors who cited lack of access to markets, lack of proper infrastructure such as ablution facilities at the designated zones and that the new places could not accommodate all of them.
There were also reports of partisan distribution of vending stalls at the designated sites with perceived supporters of opposition parties being sidelined by ruling party activists who had hijacked the distribution of the vending stalls.
The latest move, according to the vendors, has been as a result of lack of access to markets which has seen business going down at a time council is demanding $1,25 in daily charges.
A snap survey at the designated sites along Seke Road and Simon Mazorodze Road showed that most of the designated sites were turning into little white elephants.
National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) Chairperson, Stan Zvorwadza said the problem emanated from the lack of consultation on the part of the Harare City Council.
“As vendors, we remain concerned over the lack of consultation by authorities when implementing policies that affect us. These designated sites are far away from the markets, and as such, business has not been viable for the vendors yet they are supposed to fork out money which is part of the daily charges by council.
“As a result, there are a number of vendors deserting the designated sites because they cannot sustain the daily charges at a time business is very low. We are saying council should always consult us,” said Zvorwadza.
Harare City Council Spokesperson, Michael Chideme warned that the vendors should stay at the designated sites.
He denied reports that the designated sites had been deserted saying: “We are actually redesigning those designated sites so that we create robust structures and we are encouraging all the vendors to trade from the places they were allocated by the council.”
Interviewed vendors said business was low at the designated sites hence their decision to move to the CBD.
“The movement of people here is very low and as a result, the small profits that we are getting are going towards paying the daily charges to council,” said a vendor at the Seke Road site who identified himself as Charlton Mukambo.