Space barons invade Harare CBD

Source: Space barons invade Harare CBD | The Herald

Herald Correspondent

The chaos which is been caused by land barons in Harare is far from over as they have now invaded the Central Business District and are selling vending space along Park Street just behind Construction house to vendors.

The space barons are charging US$5 per each two square metres portion and are allegedly sharing the loot with top council officials suspected to be linked to MDC-Alliance officials.

Our news crew visited the area last week they managed to talk to one of the space barons only identified herself as Mrs Khumalo.

She said she was given authority to sell the spaces by Harare City Council before refusing to field anymore questions.

A visit by this publication showed that the place has no proper ablution facilities and running water.

People trading there were not observing the stipulated Covid-19 regulations, which includes wearing of face masks and observing social distancing.

They were selling a lot of stuff from skin care products, second hand clothes and fruits and vegetables and groceries among other things.

Mrs Khumalo said she has nothing to tell the media before referring all the questions to the City of Harare.

“I do not talk to the media, if you have any questions, talk to council officials because they are the ones who gave us the authority to use this space,” she said.

One of the traders, who sells second hand clothes, Petronella Masinga said they pay for space to Mrs Khumalo.

She said Mrs Khumalo was the ‘boss’ and has runners that collect money on her behalf while she monitors what will be taking place.

“We pay between US$2 to US$5 daily for a space to sell our clothes. Now that Christmas is at hand more people are coming and to us it is brisk business. When the police come they deal with Mrs Khumalo but sometimes they chase us away.

“We know that there is lockdown but at the end of the day we need money to buy food so we have no choice but to come here and sell our wares,” she said.

The local authority is on record saying it has been losing millions of dollars to space barons and cartels within and outside council that have been pocketing millions of dollars from council markets depriving the city of much-needed revenue.

Some politicians have been conniving with council officials to deprive the city of revenue from Mupedzanhamo, Mbare Musika, Glen View Area 8 Furniture Complex and other markets in Highfield.

When contacted for a comment acting Harare spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende referred all the questions to the acting town clerk Engineer Zvenyika Chawatama.

Eng Chawatama referred all questions back to Mr Ruwende who was however no longer reachable for comment by time of going to print.