City Fathers urged to fast-track markets rehab Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo stresses a point to Councillor Martin Matinyanya during a tour of demolished makeshift markets in Mbare yesterday

Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter

Government is appealing to Harare City Council to speed up the setting up of additional market places, to ensure vendors operate from decent places after the Covid-19 lockdown period.

More than 8 500 traders are expected to benefit from newly set-up markets and expanded trading centres, which are being worked on.

The marketing centres are Coca-Cola Corner market, which is expected to accommodate 3 000 people, Mupedzanhamo 1 500, Shawasha Grounds 3 000 and Tsiga market 1 300.

Those, who were operating at Mupedzanhamo will remain there. The committee which is managing the premises is currently disinfecting the market and re-demarcating stands.

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works Marian Chombo, who toured the marketplaces yesterday, applauded Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba for a job well done but said more work still needed to be done.

The Government has extended the lockdown period to May 3.

“As the central Government we have a mandate to make sure that the local authorities provide the necessary infrastructure to everybody in their communities and the communities are the ratepayers. If you look back, the Cabinet mandated us to make sure the local authorities use the window period of the lockdown to improve on the provision of services,” she said.

“People may ask, why now? If you look at the trading environment, it  was unhygienic. The period we are in demands that we provide a safe and clean environment for business. This was the only way we could do it. Let us remove politics from Covid-19. This is not the time to score points. It is a time to fight Civid-19.”

She called for the need to observe social distancing and provision of sanitisers at vending sites.

“We have visited Mupedzanhamo, there is still a lot of work to be done. They need water. Those ablution facilities are not up to standard. So I am requesting the Harare local authority to make sure that they complete the job during the lockdown period,” she said.

Some of the trading centres were being upgraded using devolution funds.

The Coca-Cola market was allocated $15 million for the upgrade.

Mayor Gomba said they have made a resolution that 20 percent of the total revenue from the market should be ploughed back to resuscitate and expand the infrastructure.

“What we are doing right now is to push the works to be done and ensure that we are right on time in terms of accommodating our vendors. The financial resources are there and we need to push to ensure that work is carried throughout the night, so that we can be able to meet the timeline that we set ourselves,” he said.

“We entered into an arrangement with a partner who is going to build a world-class facility there. It entails making sure that there are bus termini and banking halls, restaurants and service stations.

“All the buses going to Manicaland and Marondera, among other areas, are going to use the termini and that will create a market for vendors.

Shawasha Grounds and Tsiga vending site are expected to be ready for occupation after the Covid-19 lockdown

Harare City Council director housing and social development Mr Addmore Nhekairo said they were aiming to finish working on Shawasha Grounds by Saturday, but the perimeter wall is a long term project.

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