BY EVANS MATHANDA
A GROUP of Mbare youths have constructed a footbridge on Mukuvisi River in Graniteside and are charging people who use it $20 per head.
The youths told NewsDay that they had to innovate to eke out a living due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They said the footbridge provided a shorter route for vendors who buy their products from Mbare Musika based in Sunningdale and surrounding areas.
The footbridge was constructed two years ago and they were charging $5 for people to cross initially, before raising the price due to inflation.
“We didn’t want to join other youths in criminal activities. Mbare was labelled a crime hotspot, but we have decided to come up with something for a living. Yes, life is hard in Zimbabwe, but we have been saving from this tollgate since 2019. We cash in at least $6 000 on a normal day,” Lovemore Gumiro, who came up with the idea, told NewsDay.
He said several people were benefiting from the project.
“This is more like a community treasure where most people benefit financially, while others benefit by passing through the bridge to do business at Mbare’s busy markets,” he added.
A woman, who uses the footbridge, told NewsDay that it was helpful as in the past, people risked their lives by entering dirty water while crossing the river. She said it was the shortest way to Mbare Musika.
However, police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the footbridge was illegal, adding that it was criminal for the youths to charge people, despite that it is helping the community.
“We have to verify how long these boys have been collecting toll fees from people. They are stealing and it’s illegal,” Nyathi said.
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