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‘We Are Watching You’: Harare City Council

Harare Vendors

By Harare City Council

There are feelings with regards the operations of the informal sector in the Central Business District with arguments for and against the practice of the trade on pavements, shop and office fronts.

Council in its wisdom has set aside land for various uses. The informal sector has been catered for.

Land has been reserved for the sector at various strategic and nodal points across town.

Some of the sites under development will be provided with banking facilities, bus termini and anchor shops to attract traffic to the informal sector traders.

Council has realised that the informal sector spaces cannot operate in isolation hence the bold and pragmatic decision to locate new vending spaces at busy places that have other business activities.

Council is aware of individuals abusing the system to set shop on undesignated spaces. The individuals are collecting money from desperate vendors and pocketing the ‘LOOT’ for personal use.

The law will soon catch up with such individuals. There is only one planning authority – which is Council. Individuals cannot usurp the power of council and do arbitrary space allocations.

Members of the informal sector are urged to verify the authenticity and lawfulness of any space allocations in the city. Doing so protects the informal sector and their investments.

The years long cry for decent trading spaces cannot be achieved when the informal sector is pumping money into the pockets of individuals who have no obligation to re-invest in the development of decent trading spaces.

Saying NO to corruption should be a collective responsibility by all stakeholders.

Council is one of the biggest beneficiaries of a properly functioning informal sector industry. When the informal sector trades from designated sites – council collects revenue and reinvests that money in the development and maintenance of the infrastructure.

But when the informal sector chooses to pay to third parties – that investment goes down the drain and council will not have resources to use to develop trading spaces.

Robert Tapfumaneyi