By Helen Kadirire
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said the Gulf Sunshine Bazaar shopping complex in Mbare must be demolished after it caused a flooding crisis.
The complex — constructed along Simon Mazorodze Road — blocked drainage ways, leading to the flooding of adjacent homes by run-off water.
Affected residents had threatened to sue the Harare City Council (HCC) and demand compensation.
Residents along Mbirimi, Mwamuka and Chinamhora streets had thousands of dollars’ worth of property destroyed after the flooding during the just-ended festive period.
“The market shells along Simon Mazorodze have disturbed the residents. The water that usually flowed freely is now backwashing into their homes.
“That complex should be removed if it does not meet the Environmental Management Agency approval,” Kasukuwere said.
He said the complex, built to accommodate informal traders, “cannot exist in harmony with existing residents”, adding that instead of Mbare residents benefitting from it, their property was being destroyed.
He added that while council and his ministry had been working to relocate vendors from the streets, the designated sites were unfavourable for business.
“In more progressive countries they have models like that and I think a similar set-up can be done in Harare,” Kasukuwere said.
An angry resident who spoke to the Daily News said if council was sincere about fixing the drainage problem they should demolish part of the complex so that no more run-off water flows into their homes.
“Since they began building the complex in 2013 we have been experiencing these floods. This year was worse because our electrical gadgets were all damaged.
“Furniture and food stuffs were also affected,” Mbare resident Tracy Fisher said.
HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said council had not yet contacted the complex contractors on the demolitions.
“We are doing corrective engineering solutions at the complex to avoid future flooding.
“We are also working together with the contractors of the complex,” he said.
The complex was supposed to have opened in June last year but has been lying idle due to lack of buy-in by traders.
Vendors have also slammed the complex arguing that it is not strategically positioned for business. Daily News