Two Harare centres for the informal sector, Mupedzanhamo Flea Market and the Glen View Area 8 Complex, are set to reopen this week with traders expected to follow the “new normal’’ that requires the wearing of masks, registering with council, maintenance of high levels of personal hygiene and social distancing, as spelt out by President Mnangagwa recently.
This will bring a sigh of relief to the informal traders that used to operate from the two complexes.
Some, desperate to regain lost income, were breaching the lockdwn regulations and started operating from unsafe places.
Our news crew yesterday toured the Glen View Area 8 market and observed that the traders were now operating in the open just outside the complex, while others were operating from nearby houses, exposing residents to potential health hazards especially considering that the place they have occupied just after the Engen Service Station, has no ablution facilities.
Further, there is potential danger that Covid-19 could be spread not only among the traders, but also residents and potential buyers that are mobbed by the carpenters on arrival as they seek to outbid each other.
There is high levels of complacency as people were not being sanitised, while the majority of the traders did not wear the compulsory face masks, with no observance of social distancing requirements.
The situation was the same in Mbare where most second-hand clothes vendors were trading among the blocks of flats opposite the Mupedzanhamo market.
However, others continued to ply their trade directly opposite the flea market.
City of Harare has been sprucing up the Mupedzanhamo Flea Market during the national lockdown.
Harare City spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said the reopening of the two markets was likely going to be done this week.
“Mupedzanhamo will open this week; we are yet to finalise consultations with the traders at the market. This is the same with Glen View 8 Complex,” he said.
“We want to avoid problems in the past where people were paying rent to space barons, prejudicing council along the way. This time around we want to protect the interests of traders.”
Mr Chideme warned that only those registered with council will be allocated space, while those paying US$10 to space barons were being fleeced.
He said the purpose of registering was to make it easy even when they want to trace contacts in the event that a Covid-19 case was recorded.
Some traders have reportedly paid US$10 to space barons for them to be considered for allocation at the Coca Cola, Mupedzanhamo and Glen View 8 markets.
But Mr Chideme said those that have paid had been duped of their hard earned cash as there was no guarantee they would get space.