In a bid to alleviate the mushrooming of small vending stalls along the streets of Borrowdale, the Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association (BRRA) has announced plans to create market sites for vendors where they can operate within the parameters of the city by-laws.
Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
In an interview with Suburban, the BRRA chairman Mr Robert Mutyasira said almost every corner and street in Borrowdale now has a not so good-looking market stall made of logs and covered with either grass or plastic sheets.
He said that these sites have no toilets and there are reports that they have become havens for criminal activities.
“Some of these places have become a hive of activity and some residents have no good stories about shenanigans that take place at these illegal vending sites. A resident of Hogerty Hill has described them as conduits of drugs where addicts get quick fixes and young people especially are exposed to illicit drugs which have wreaked havoc across the entire country,” said Mr Mutyasira.
“There are no toilets for both the traders and their clients some of whom are known to spend hours seated or loitering there. The bushes and walls of properties nearby have become their lavatories posing both a health hazard to residents let alone unpleasant stenches emanating from such places. Security concerns have also been aired as surveillance of residential areas by some unscrupulous individuals and gangs can be conducted under the cover of these vending operations,” added Mr Mutyasira.
He said that there has been an increase in vending activities along Crowhill Road from Helensvale shops right through to the intersection with Lunar Road. The most prominent being the at the intersection with Carrick Creagh and the sight is disturbing as vendors either park vehicles on the verges of the road while others have built unsightly permanent market stalls.
“It is only a matter of time before a deadly accident occurs at the location as it is almost at the centre of an obvious blind spot and a sharp curve where visibility has always been of concern even without this new development. Outcries have also come from residents who live near the intersection of Domboshawa Road and Harare Drive where there are sand and brick vendors as well as earth moving equipment for hire stationed there blocking a very beautiful flower nursery from the view of its potential clients.
“From that intersection all the way to Helensvale shops more and more static and car boot vendors are sprouting and at times of high traffic flow, their clients cause traffic jams as they stop in the middle of the road to buy roasted maize, vegetables, sweet potatoes among other products. The vendors will attend to clients on either side of the road requiring them to cross the busy road endangering their lives.”
The BRRA leader said they understand that all these people are trying to earn a living through honest means and they appreciate that. He, however, said it is disturbing when such activities are conducted outside the parameters of the law.
“Everything has to be done within the parameters of the law and not cause discomfort to residents. At the moment illegal vending activities are a potential danger to the rate paying residents hence our intended intervention to influence as well mobilise for regularisation of vending at designated and commissioned sites.
“We are engaging city authorities for sites where people’s markets, bearing all necessary public facilities, can be constructed. One such site is behind Spar supermarket at Helensvale. We have already identified potential investors to enter into private public partnerships (PPPs) with the local authority in such a venture should it be approved.
‘‘Our intention is not to impose these sites on vendors but we shall engage them in the decision-making processes as well as include them in the planning of such sites so that their particular needs may be addressed if they are willing.
“Post commissioning of constructed sites, any vendor creating their own market outside of designated areas will be operating illegally and we hope the City of Harare Development Control will grow real teeth in dealing with illegalities throughout Borrowdale.
‘‘Monitoring and control of vendors is one of the expected outcomes of this initiative as only registered and vetted traders will be allocated stalls. Formal business support systems will be an added advantage that we intend to use to lure the buy in from most vendors as organised sites attract small business funders,” said Mr Mutyasira.