Vendors who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said they had been “dumped” at the dusty site which is still under construction and inaccessible to their regular customers.
Contacted for comment, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said they had provided facilities at the site and all was in order.
“Is that what they are saying? We have provided shelter for the vendors,” he said.
Michael Chideme – Harare City Council Spokesperson
Interviewed vendors pleaded with city authorities to address their plight.
“With the approaching rainy season, we need tents or shades.
“The place is open and we are exposed to the sun in this heat. With heavy rains, it’s going to be very muddy and impossible to operate from these grounds.
“They have not provided us with the promised tables imagine we are selling from this dusty ground,” said Margaret Kani.
New vending site
“Our regular customers from the city centre are not able to access us this far. It is just meaningless; we come here to sit all day without selling even a single item.”
Others said with the worsening economy, they were hardly making any earnings at the new site.
“We are returning home empty-handed everyday; yet the cost of living has gone up.
“On a good day in the city centre, one would go home with at least $30 or $40.
“Now I can’t even afford a loaf of bread, worse still I now need $2 for transport daily. I am just coming here to ensure my stand is not taken away,” said Zuwana Chombuka.
Vendors complained that the ablution facilities at the site were not enough for hundreds conducting business at the premises.
Margaret Dangarembwa said the site was just too small and now crowded since the arrival of vendors from the CBD.
“We can’t fit anymore; the place is too small for hundreds of us. We need more toilets and at least a security wall to secure the place.
“When it’s windy, it becomes impossible to display our wares because of the rising dust,” she said.
Vendors were violently removed from the CBD by police on the wake of the declaration of a state of emergency following a cholera outbreak.
Opposition parties and civil society groups noted that government was blind to the plight of vendors in the context of high unemployment. Daily News.