Call to implement city’s SMEs policy

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Call to implement city’s SMEs policy A man salvages metal sheets following the recent demolition of tuckshops at the Crowhill Road roundabout.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

WARD 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe has appealed to the City of Harare’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Committee to implement the municipality’s SMEs policy in order to have a work plan in each area.

Speaking at a recent council meeting, Cllr Kadzombe said she agrees with the report that recommended the conversion of cleared dumpsites into informal markets.

“If you travel all around the world you will see that all progressive cities they have made sure that when they are planning they have included the informal sector.

“We are doing the cat and mouse operation (with vendors) when we have a clear SMEs policy. I would really like to know what are we doing so far in trying to identify safe environments for these vendors to operate in.

“I know at some point we did an advert where we asked all informal traders to come through and register with the City of Harare and were paying a $10 registration fee.

“And I’m just imagining a situation where these vendors were given this opportunity. They come through, they pay their money and are looking forward to be walking hand in hand with the City of Harare and after that they start being chased and their goods are taken,” said Cllr Kadzombe.

She said the SMEs Committee had produced a report that could guide the council on how to accommodate informal traders and vendors.

“I think there is a report that says they are asking us to use the current dumpsites that are being cleared to have informal markets in those areas.

“And I totally agree with the recommendation that they have made because we have got these open spaces in our ward and we can have an opportunity where we can then say after clearing the dump, let’s reclaim it, let’s give them (informal traders) the space.

“We give them the type of shades that they are supposed to be operating in so they can be able to eke a living because at the end of the day if we keep on arresting and taking their wares, it doesn’t really make sense as a capital city,” she said.

In response to Cllr Kadzombe’s assertions, Mayor Jacob Mafume said the city instituted an investigation and residents and ratepayers were awaiting the results of the probe.

“They (municipal police) are so big and they look like wrestlers in WWE diving on a person, jumping on the person, somersaulting on the person, it is bad.

“I don’t understand it. The desire to be cruel, the desire to be malicious the desire to be vindictive is not the policing that we expect.

“And we have since said they must desist from this plain clothes wearing, they should wear uniforms.

“Surely you cannot be a plain clothes detective to chase a blind vendor who is selling their wares, they are not able to see you anyway.

“And you’re wearing these plain clothes and you are running after women, grabbing property, grabbing things fighting and kicking, I don’t understand it.

“That’s not in keeping with what we think the city is.

“If we have areas that they are not supposed to operate in, let’s demarcate it and make it clear in our uniforms that you are not supposed to operate in that area.

“If we have areas that they are supposed to operate in, we have licences that we are supposed to give them,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said the brutal treatment meted on the vendors was similar to the dilemmas motorists were facing at the hands of City Parking marshals.

“Let’s have electronic gadgets like the ones City Parking has now because City Parking needs to also deal with their public relations issues so they stop brutalising people like what Cllr Kadzombe said. It’s not in our policy and let’s read our policy. Let’s employ a gadget.

“We have said people should pay in US dollars but they were not improving their gadgets. The ring fencing is not working. Something somewhere is just loose in creating a financial model that we wanted to create because we didn’t want to have a colonial relationship. We wanted the money that comes from them to go back to their facilities. We wanted them to join medical aid, we wanted them to get small loans. It’s about $400 000 to $500 000 a month that comes in and it exceeds US$4million a year that we can get from the vendors. So why are we not refurbishing the facilities, why are we not putting them on medical aid, why are we not giving them small loans, why are we having such brutal relations with someone who is actually giving council money,” said Cllr Mafume.

He said if the vendors issue was not addressed the city will be forced to one day create a company called City Markets to run the capital’s markets and informal trading spaces in the same manner as City Parking.

“And that is the reason why we end up creating companies like we will create a city market company. We then pay there (to the City Markets company), then we meet and ask council how much are you getting every month. I know if we use that model, we will be able to give council the $200 000 it’s getting and we will be able to make $600 000.  But you have a colonial mentality. We are not here to replace colonial behaviour where we have a municipal police person whose sole dedication in life is to run after people with button sticks and clenched fists. It must be a relationship that is mutually beneficial and that makes everyone feel proud that they are part and parcel of the ecosystem of the City of Harare. If we ring fence and collect this money, we will be able to build the facilities and even give them loans that they so desire in terms of continuing with their facility. That is what our policy was supposed to be,” said Mayor Mafume.

 

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