Harare turns beer halls into markets

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) has decided to convert its Rufaro Marketing beer halls into markets for informal traders.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the facilities had all the requisite amenities to make trading comfortable for vendors.

“Some of these facilities are conveniently located and have water, toilets and are spacious enough to accommodate the informal sector. 

“Ultimately, what the city wants to do is to effectively use its assets for the maximum benefit of the residents,” he said.

Chideme highlighted the high demand for decent market spaces and as such they were targeting those beer halls that were strategically located and mutually acceptable by the informal sector.

Vendors Initiative for Socio-Economic Transformation (Viset) director Samuel Wadzai said vendors are not against any move that serves to correct the wrongs that were perpetrated against vendors previously.

He said as vendors they should be consulted in all processes that involve them as they are supposed to be the intended beneficiaries.

Wadzai emphasised the need for council to ensure that all amenities such as water and toilets which were a bone of contention with them are addressed.

“The beer halls they want to put vendors in should be spacious enough to accommodate the traders because previously they only supplied space for less than 100 traders. 

“All our prior grievances which made us not move to designated sites should be addressed before being frog-marched into these beer halls,” Wadzai said.

The Viset director said in terms of space barons, council should draw up contracts with the vendors so that they take away the middlemen.

“Most of the vendors were now being targeted by politicians who used their muscle to make vendors pay them in exchange for trading space — that should be eliminated so that council benefits and in term fixes the vending spaces,” he said.

HCC town clerk Hosiah Chisango said council had gone to the designated sites across the city and would start construction of proper facilities soon.

He said all district offices have now been empowered to issue out tables to willing informal traders who approach them for space.

“We heard their grievances, we will do right by what we said. There are some markets in the various suburbs that had been abandoned and we want traders to start taking up those spaces and pay directly to council and not space barons as they previously did,” Chisango said.

Three weeks ago, councils with the aid of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the army removed vendors that had built tuck shops as a way of bringing order to the cities.



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