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Harare mayor vows to regulate street vending

Mafume told NewsDay that the initiative was part of a broader effort to streamline city planning and address the growing pressure on urban infrastructure.

Harare mayor Jacob Mafume plans to establish designated vending zones and enforce strict no-vending areas within the city in a bid to address the unregulated proliferation of street vendors.

The tough stance comes as the city fathers see the mushrooming of street vendors as undesirable and unfair competition to formal businesses.

This also comes after Harare's central business district (CBD), has become a battleground as city authorities engage in a relentless struggle with vendors to clear the streets of the ever-growing number of sellers.

Mafume told NewsDay that the initiative was part of a broader effort to streamline city planning and address the growing pressure on urban infrastructure.

“Vendors just see a place and put a cardboard box, and it's undesirable. They sell the same things that are being sold in the supermarkets yet they are not paying rates. 

“So we are going to create areas where vendors have to operate. We are also going to create streets that are no-go areas for vending.

“It cannot be a city where any behaviour can mushroom at any place.  We need to record them, formalise them and give them areas to operate from,” Mafume said.

He said the city would register all vendors operating within the CBD so that they were integrated into the city's economic framework.

“We want to create a city that has designated areas for certain activities. The issue of planning in the country needs serious thinking,” he said.

Mafume said there was need for comprehensive urban planning to address the growing complexities of city management.

“We have a rural and urban divide. What has been happening is that our planning has allowed rural areas to grow at the boundary of the city of Harare.

“So you will have Zvimba, Goromonzi and Manyame developing stands at the boundaries of Harare claiming to be a rural district council yet they are creating residential areas that require services from Harare,” he said.

Mafume said residents of these areas often depended on Harare for essential services, such as education, healthcare and employment, yet they pay rates to their respective rural district councils.

“The people in those settlements can easily number 800 000 and all these are overwhelming the services of Harare. Our boundaries must extend towards these areas so that we properly plan and create for schools, clinics and other industrial areas without burdening the infrastructure for Harare,” he said.

“They build settlements where they cannot provide jobs and then they go to Harare to flood the city.”

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