Harare space barons put on notice
Harare (New Ziana) – The government will deal decisively with space barons who are behind the construction of illegal trading stalls in the capital and extort money from informal traders at these sites, an official has said.
Harare Provincial and Devolution Affairs Minister Oliver Chidawu said the space barons were also illegally collecting money from bus operators at ranks such as Mbare Musika.
In some instances, Chidawu said, the space barons claimed they were acting on behalf of political parties to coerce vendors and bus operators into paying them money.
“Our position is that the local authority must be able to collect revenue from its facilities and spaces and boost its coffers in order to help improve service delivery. Currently, we have rogues who are besmirching the names of political parties falsely claiming to have endorsement from political parties to collect money from informal traders, public toilets and bus ranks.
“In particular, there are rogues claiming to have the endorsement of the ruling ZANU PF to collect money yet this is false and the Party does not have any link whatsoever to these individuals. Let me take this opportunity to make it clear that ZANU PF does not tolerate indiscipline of the sort that is being perpetrated by these space barons and has never received any money from these individuals,” he said.
“I will reiterate our position that we do not tolerate space barons most of whom had encouraged the construction of illegal structures in Mbare and were extorting money from the people operating in these structures.”
To counter the problem of space barons, Chidawu said government was committed to providing adequate and appropriate work spaces for traders following the removal of illegal trading structures in Mbare on Saturday.
He said the restoration of order in Harare was crucial to attracting both domestic and foreign investment.
“We are liaising with the City of Harare to identify new areas where traders can be relocated and have a mutually beneficial working arrangement with the local authority,” he said.
“In this regard, I would suggest that Harare City Council consider the model that resulted in the construction of Kudzanai Bus Terminus in Gweru which was commissioned by His Excellency the President Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa as an option. There are other options that we are currently discussing with the Harare City Council. Furthermore, we are going to open the Mupedzanhamo informal traders market shortly.”
The Harare City Council on Saturday demolished illegal structures in Mbare, targeting the Mupedzanhamo Market zone and tuckshops around the bus terminus, as authorities implement plans to bring order to the area.