BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
HUNDREDS of informal traders in Harare and Chitungwiza were yesterday left without livelihoods after their councils joined forces with the police to demolish “illegal” vending structures across the capital and the dormitory town as per government directive.
The demolitions were carried out despite residents’ associations filing an urgent High Court application seeking to bar government and local authorities from implementing the exercise.
In Chitungwiza’s Zengeza 4, structures were demolished at the same time as those at Mbudzi traffic circle along Harare-Masvingo Highway, with the council officials saying the programme would spread across the city.
Household furniture was destroyed at Gomba business centre in the dormitory town before council workers using earthmoving machinery drove to Chaminuka Drive and Katanga to demolish more structures.
Government, through provincial development co-ordinator Tafadzwa Muguti, last week threatened to demolish all illegal structures across the city, which include shops and car sales, among others.
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said: “A joint operation between ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] and local authorities removing illegal informal activities operating within road servitudes has started today in Harare. Traffic interferes with illegal structures at Mbudzi roundabout and along Seke road near new Zengeza 3 and 5 and they have been removed.”
Harare Residents Trust yesterday said the demolitions were long overdue, adding that it was good that government had stepped in to deal with council failures.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police were only enforcing law and order during the demolitions.
“I can’t speak on behalf of Chitungwiza and Harare councils. They have to speak for themselves. The police are only there to maintain law and order, but pertaining to all other nitty gritties about the demolitions, talk to the councils,” he said.
Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said: “Go on the ground and see for yourself because I am not in Harare. Yes, there is a move to remove all illegal structures.”