The Harare Provincial Development Directorate has given businesses operating on roadsides until Sunday June 7 to vacate and remove their property, cars and any structures they had built.
In a statement, Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said such businesses were in breach of the Roads Act which prohibits trading on roadsides.
“The Provincial Directorate for the Government in Harare Metropolitan Province has noted with concern the rising number of unregistered informal traders of furniture, bricks, sand, quarry stones and car sales businesses operating along road servitudes.
“We hereby inform all occupants of road servitudes that they have until Sunday the 7th of June 2021 to vacate and remove all their property and destroy any infrastructure erected on road servitudes,” Mr Muguti said.
He said the Roads Act clearly states in Section 48 (trading on roads and in restricted areas (1) (2) that it is prohibited to trade on roads unless with written permission from the Road Authority.
“It is also stated in sub section (3) that any person who does so shall be guilty of a level eight offence subject to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years,” Mr Muguti said.
He said the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and all respective local authorities in the province namely the City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa Local Board and Epworth Local Board will enforce a province wide joint operation from Monday June 8, 2021.
Council officials who corruptly authorised the car sales and other businesses to operate on roadsides face investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission while councils should probe all leases issued on their behalf.
The Provincial Development Coordinator noted with concern the threats being issued by some politicians and activists against town clerks who are urging traders to vacate roadsides as per the law.
“We have also noted with concern statements and videos circulating on social media of politicians and activists intimidating town clerks whilst encouraging resistance, lawlessness and inciting violence complaining there are no council resolutions to enforce the Roads Act. We encourage such people not to be ignorant but to actually know and respect the law including council by-laws. We do not need council resolutions as Government to enforce the law, we expect councils likewise to enforce all laws of the land within their localities. Harare Metropolitan Province now has a zero tolerance policy on lawlessness, corruption and intimidation of officials.”
Road servitudes are the spaces on the roadsides reserved for expansion of the road. In cities and towns water and sewer infrastructure, electricity pylons and cables, telephone and internet cables are placed on or under road servitudes.
The City of Harare had announced on Tuesday this week the impending removal of car sales on road servitudes.
“All car sales on road servitudes to be removed. Harare Metropolitan Provincial Coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said the Road Act to be used to effect the removal,” the City of Harare announced in a tweet.
The City of Harare’s announcement sparked debate among residents with some welcoming it saying the car sales were now an eyesore along the city’s major roads with a number of the car sales established right in front of residents’ houses.
Others felt the car sales were providing employment to a number of people and should not be removed.
However, affected residents insisted the car sales should be removed and allocated alternative spaces where to conduct their business.
Added Kudakwashe Chinyerere: “Some have already drilled boreholes by the road side car sale yards…. kuchava nekugedageda kwemeno…. mumwe anonyura (there shall be gnashing of teeth, some will be left counting their losses).” Those in support of the car sales cited the fact that the municipality could generate revenue from the owners of the car sales.
“It’s better to get revenue from these car sales than to remove them and allow grass to overgrown in the area. The City of Harare can you use your brains for once!” argued one resident identifying themselves as Kuziva.
But residents insisted they were an eyesore saying there was also need to investigate who allowed the car sales to be set up on road servitudes in the first place.
Recently Government announced it was investigating the legality of all the roadside car sales in the capital city.
The car sales are found mostly along Lomagundi Road (now called Nemakonde) and Robert Mugabe Road among other major roads.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Harare Metropolitan Province Oliver Chidawu recently said the car sales had become an eyesore in the city.
Minister Chidawu said the disorderliness that is associated with the establishment of car sales must be stopped and all illegal car sales must be removed.
“We are now emphasizing that we want orderliness. We want to ensure that we follow planning and if people are following planning we have no problems with them but what we have noticed is within that, some of our members of staff probably have been compromised in doing things which may not be above the law.”
“People are now used to sell everything, any piece of land, people are selling so we now want order in Harare. We want all that to stop forthwith and then proper due diligence is taken, proper leases are established in areas which are permitted to conduct such business,” he said.
Acting Harare Mayor Councillor Stewart Mutizwa said there was need to investigate and make sure that all the car sales across the city are on designated places and have proper documentation.