150 car sales face closure

HARARE - Over 150 car sales face closure after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered they be removed as they are illegal.

Of the 200 car sales operating in Harare, Chombo’s investigating team headed by Ellen Chivaviro reported that only 47 have lease agreements, while the rest have not been authorised by city council to operate.

“I hereby direct that council compile a list of all car sales and garages and remove all illegal ones by December 31, 2012.

“This process should involve the police and should be preceded by a vigorous publicity and advertising,” Chombo said.

Chombo gave the local authority up to December 20 to have names of those car sales operating legally known.

Out of the 47 with leases, only three met the town planning requirements and only one is in full compliance with licensing requirements, according to the Local Government minister.

Most of the cars sold at these private dealers are imported from Japan.

The local authority, two months ago, tried to close these car sales, but the matter turned political with Zanu PF youths threatening violence on council employees.

Jim Kunaka, Zanu PF Harare province youth chairperson, described the move as “anti-people” forcing council to back down on the operation.

With Chombo now backing the clean-up exercise, most of the car sales could find themselvesout of business as mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has to deliver.

The minister also took an aim at billboards, instructing the local authority which has been clueless for a while to pull those erected without council authority.

According to the minister, at least 50 percent of billboards are illegal and wrongly posted causing traffic challenges in the city centre.

“Council has not been able to quantify the total number of illegal billboards in the city,” he said.

“There is a proliferation of the so-called “LED” outdoor advertising around the city, some of which are illegal as they are not authorised by council and are a distraction to motorists due to light intensity reflected by the screens.

He said illegal billboards should be pulled down while all legal LED flashing screens are repositioned in a manner that is compliant with the best practises.

“This should be accomplished by December 31, 2012.

“Councils should have a full inventory of all billboards in the city and same should be submitted to my office by December 15 , 2012,” Chombo said. - Bridget Mananavire

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