Ivan Zhakata and Sallomy Matare
Harare City Council is finally working on constructing proper vending stalls at the Coca Cola Corner in Harare after Government released $15 million.
The vending site, at the corner of Seke and Dieppe roads, commonly referred to as the Coke Corner, accommodates some of the vendors removed from unsanctioned wending sites last year.
Apart from levelling the ground, the council had done nothing for a year.
The site, which accommodates hundreds of vendors, has no adequate water supplies or ablution facilities, forcing traders to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.
The vendors are also operating from makeshift stalls made of plastic and wood, which are not only unsightly but expose both the vendors and their customers to the vagaries of the weather
There are also reports of chaos and disorder at the trading place as Harare City Council conveniently forgot about the plight of the vendors.
The site now has multiple functions. Apart from the vendors, driving schools are conducting lessons there while groups of apostolic sect members pray nearby.
Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said work was progressing well and that vending spaces would be complete in two weeks.
“We have started the erection of the structure that we want to put up for vendors,” he said. “We received about $15 million and more will be disbursed so that we have proper structures for our vendors.
“The idea is to accommodate the vendors that are here and from the calculations we have made, we can accommodate between 1 000 and 1 600 vendors. Preference will be given to vendors that are already here and we expect to start seeing them move in, as the allocations are being done, in the next 10 to 12 weeks as the work has already started.”
Eng Chisango said council had contracted a steel manufacturer for structural frameworks while council does the foundation. He said the vendors trading at Coca Cola already have a register which will be used to allocate them space.
Engineer Chisango said once Coca Cola was done, work would shift to other vending sites in the city.
“We have the Coca Cola and the Chishawasha Flats (open ground) where we have entered into a partnership but our partner has slowed down the pace, so we are re-strategising so that we can have resources to start work on that site. We will also be putting up similar structures all over town.
“We have different sizes for different trades because we are seeing that our economy is tilting towards the informal sector so on small to medium enterprises we will be focusing on infrastructure.
“This one will be coming with adequate ablution facilities for the traders that will be operating from there. We also have a plan for the central business district. There are areas we have targeted to put ablution facilities.”
He also called on the private sector to partner with council in building public toilets at busy places in the city.
“We are also calling on the private sector to come in and partner with us whenever we can. They can put up those pay toilets which are well maintained. The city will also be putting special services which are cheaper but we need to co-operate with the private sector in this regard,” Eng Chisango said.